We want to create an index of the lady scientists on Tumblr, much like shychemist did for all scientists. (Have we thanked you lately?!) However, it’s a bit more challenging as not all of you announce your gender on your blogs. So, if you identify as a woman/female,* let us know if you want to be included!
Here she is at the recent Makers conference discussing how getting women truly involved in STEM (which should always be expanded to STEAM in my opinion) is the only way to mobilize the intellectual capital necessary to make something like that happen.
In other words …
"We can’t do this with just half the population… the future never just happened, it was created. We have an opportunity to create the future and decide what that’s like.”
Check out more from the Makers conference here. It looks like it was a veritable who’s who of inspiring women.
Love this video! So, engineers are basically superheroes?
It’s a great message to deliver to the young girls featured in the video, or really any young person interested in science, and now that I think about it, really any person at all. The powers of a superhero are within your reach, and thanks to science.
Features cute illustrations by Beatrice the Biologist, too!
Here’s a preview of a collaborative illustration I’m working on :) The artwork will feature women from a diverse range of fields. I’ve chosen Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper to represent science and technology.
I’m currently looking at this from a distance of about two nanoseconds from my computer screen. Does that sound a little confusing? Let Admiral Hopper explain:
Rear Admiral Grace Hopper would have been 107 today, and is being honored with a great Google Doodle. It’s quite literally impossible for us to imagine, as we sit here reading about her on the internet, but people used to use things like paper and pencils and chalk and slide rules to solve (and often not solve) complicated problems. Grace Hopper quite simply helped usher in the modern age, her impact, I think, is no less than the steam engine or the cotton gin.
Some awesome stuff she did: Grace Hopper developed first compiler, allowing computer calculations to move beyond simple arithmetic and into more complex problems. She also developed first standardized computer language, COBOL, which laid the groundwork for all the languages we use today.
One day she found a dead moth disrupting one of the electronic relays in the Mark 1 computer, and upon removing it (and fixing the computer), the term “debugging" was popularized (although the idea of computer "bugs" had been around before). Here’s her daily log from that day, with the offending moth taped to the page:
Beyond that, she was a charming scientific communicator, and she possessed a marvelous ability to make people, and mind you this was in a time when almost no one owned their own computer, truly appreciate both the importance and the complexity of computing technology.
She famously carried around a bundle of nanoseconds in her purse for illustrative purposes. Here she is charming the socks off of David Letterman, and giving him a nanosecond of his very own (don’t miss the picosecond joke, either) :
Emily asks "Where My Ladies At?”
Stop. Watch this.
The lack of women with STEM shows on YouTube is the nail, Emily Graslie is the hammer, and this video is the proverbial strike upon its head. There’s not much that I can say that Emily doesn’t say better, and truer, and from an emotional place of which I can only begin to imagine the outermost atoms of the outermost superficial shell.
Digging into how women are treated on YouTube taps into much larger issues, in STEM fields and society in general. But it’s also a very visible place to begin to make an impact and force change. I think I still fall into the “not knowing exactly how I fit in to this” category like she mentions. And I know there’s lots of people, male and female, who feel like that. But we’re here, we’re listening, and we have your back. That’s a start.
Head over to the video page to see a great list of female-led STEM YouTube channels in the description. Can’t wait to see that list grow.
Hey, Beastie Boys … you need to let this go. FOR SCIENCE.
UPDATE 11/25/2013: The Beastie Boys have responded with an open letter stating they support what GoldieBlox is trying to do, but they still wish to uphold their long-standing wish not to have their music used in ads. In their court filing (see below), GoldieBlox stated that copyright infringement had been alleged by the Beastie Boys. That remains unclear right now. Of course, if the GoldieBlox version is declared a fair use parody, the Boys’ wishes seem to be kind of moot.
Next up on the docket is Beastie Boys v. GoldieBlox, Inc. in the 4th Circuit Court for “Unnecessary Applications of Copyright Law”
You know that amazing ad for GoldieBlox engineering toys? The one that features three young girls busting up our pretty pink princess toy culture using one of the greatest Rube Goldberg setups ever devised? The one that has a chance to be played during the Super Bowl, so that people everywhere can see the value of promoting STEM education in young girls’ lives?
Well, the Beastie Boys don’t like it. GoldieBlox produced a parody version of the Beastie Boys’ hit song “Girls” for that ad, and, according to court documents, the Boys of Beasthood are going after them for copyright infringement (although an unnamed source in this HuffPo article states that the BBs have made no such claim).
GoldieBlox is claiming “fair use” in a preemptive court claim (or whatever it’s called, I’m a scientist, not a lawyer), which I actually think the toy-maker has a pretty good case for, but I’m not going to bore you with legal mumbo-jumbo. This is made especially ironic by the fact that the original Beastie Boys song has, shall we say, a decidedly less than flattering view of women To be fair, some interpretations of the Boys’ original view it as a satire itself, but that’s not the easiest read of their lyrics.
Inside the GoldieBlox court filing, I found this sick burn directed at the Beastie Boys’ original lyrics compared to the inspiring GoldieBlox version:
In the lyrics of the Beastie Boys’ original song, girls are limited (at best) to household chores, and are presented as useful only to the extent they fulfill the wishes of the male singers. The girls are objects. The GoldieBlox Girls Parody Video takes direct aim at the song both visually and with a revised set of lyrics celebrating the many capabilities of girls. Set to the tune of Girls by the Beastie Boys but with a new recording of the music and new lyrics, girls are heard singing an anthem celebrating their broad set of capabilities—exactly the opposite of the message of the original. GoldieBlox Girls are the subjects; they are the actors taking charge of their environment.
It gets better! Look at this chart comparing the lyrics of the original to the lyrics of the parody cover, it’s too good:
It should definitely be noted that the Beastie Boys made a very admirable pro-feminism turnaround after their early years, and “Girls” certainly doesn’t represent their body of work. But the original lyrics are what they are.
The Beastie Boys and Def Jam records just need to do the right thing here and let it goooooooooo (preferably slow and low).
I love the Beastie Boys, and they have done a lot of good for the world since their rambunctiously youthful days. Do the right thing. Fight for young girls’ right to party … with toys that empower STEM education.
Well this is a pleasant side effect of that one video I made that we aren’t gonna talk about anymore.
Bobbleheads.com, the folks who manufactured Marie Curie and all the rest of my heavy-headed collection, have realized that it would be pretty awesome if there was more than just one female scientist available for purchase. So they’ve opened up a poll asking who you’d like to see as a bobblehead!
Head on over and vote as many times as your fingers will let you! Let’s show them how many customers they have waiting for them.
Looks like I need to make some more room on my desk. Also WHY NOT ALL OF ‘EM?
Engineering Change, One Ad at a Time
Imagine this: In the middle of a billion-dollar televised spectacle of sporting violence, sandwiched between beer ads and gyrating plastic cheerleaders, surrounded by the latest Madison Avenue pleas for flavored taco shells and montages of young, hip people using that one new e-reader that everyone likes so much, 120 seconds of hope emerged.
Here is that hope.
It comes in the form of this Rube Goldberg-inspired ad for Goldie Blox, a series of building toys aimed at smashing the blinding pink wall put up around young girls and their toys. Maybe we should change it to Ruby Goldberg after this? Because they just owned it.
Here’s the deal: I don’t have to tell you how amazing this toy is (although I have before) or how great this video is (because that will be obvious when you watch it). What you need to do is go vote for this ad to be featured during the next Super Bowl!!!! Yes. Go vote. Go now, and go every day. The whole world has a chance to see this.
The power is literally in your hands. Use them to build some little girl’s future. Then who knows what she might build?