Saturday, January 28, 2012

Google genders engineering

Your categories:
Business & Industrial - Business Finance - Venture Capital
Internet & Telecom - Service Providers - ISPs
Jobs & Education - Education - Teaching & Classroom Resources
Science - Engineering & Technology - Robotics
Your demographics:
We infer your age and gender based on the websites you've visited. 
Age: 35-44
Gender: Male
I've checked out my Google ad preferences. Classic. If you like technology then you must be male.
If there weren't so many other examples of gender by design, this would be depressing. But I've seen magazine display racks, toy shops and clothing stores. There are so many fronts to fight this battle on.

What scares me is feeling as though I've been coopted. As Google collects data from more and more places, where will it be ok to be female or middle aged or anything not associated with my work or public persona. I don't wan't to turn in to a stereotype. I'm tweeting #VAGINA more frequently to keep female technophilia alive. Let's encourage alternatives and defeat stereotypes. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Awesome is exhausting for some of us but FAKE GRIMLOCK has tapped the motherlode and is distributing it via twitter, blog, posters and maybe even in person. Although it could be kind of scary seeing a giant metal robot dinosaur with a penchant for eating stupid humans.

FAKE GRIMLOCK is my new favorite reading (along with The Bloggess and xkcd), because what he says makes a lot of sense. It also drips with sarcasm, awesomeness and blood. Many technology luminaries (like Eric Ries, Brad Feld, Fred Wilson and CNN) have noticed that FAKE GRIMLOCK carves through all the cream and gets straight to the coffee. I'm still new over here but sometimes I think that America is all froth and foam and eff all coffee. Then I remember stuff like #Occupy and STOP SOPA.

I wish I had some of FAKE GRIMLOCK's gift for awesome communication because the tech world both fascinates and dismays me. We are changing society right here - punching code through the walls of the world. But all too often the vision is just personal or commercial success.


Roadblocks of gender, race and class are still huge. Sometimes technological advancement is just making bigger roadblocks. Startup philosophy, which emphasizes the individual, is often powerless before huge areas of fail. We aren't all giant robot dinosaurs and sometimes we don't share the same visions. For example, feminism is a great conversation killer, because not a lot has changed in last 50 years. Seriously - this 1991 MIT report by Ellen Spertus is still accurate. That's depressing. It's great to celebrate awesome women engineers and ceos, but important to point out the systematic obstacles women face in the tech and startup worlds.

Fake Grimlock's irresistible awesome is up against some pretty immoveable objects, but at least reading @fakegrimlock makes me feel like a raging fury in a good way.

Brain Drain - i do it right?

This is what I found when I searched for brain enema. I also got Thor, a heavy metal band from the 80s. Enough said. My brain is still clogged up with all the words I didn't write last year. Every day for the last month or three, I've tossed them around like a salad and tried to serve them up. Every day, I've ignored my healthy diet of self expression and loaded up on cheap internet carbs and stodgy domestic duties. Sweet, eh.

I hereby swear to post until I've unblocked my brain. Life is full of open tickets and I'm like an intern on the helpdesk. I'm still not certain if it's OCD or procrastination, but I can't sit and write until I've cleared my way to the desk. By then I'm mentally drained and turn on the distractions.

American bureaucracy is in a league of its own. I spent all of last week arranging a new dentist for the family and following up on asthma appointments. We've all had the first round of appointments which required 1 hour of paperwork EACH and each visit has spawned a minimum of one more visit (and in some cases 3!). I also have filled out 13 pages of school forms and still haven't updated medication and insurance details for 2 of 3 kids. And preliminary camp forms... there goes another day.

OK. I am making post-its and lists and crossing shit off, but I must start putting writing first for a while, so that I can START THINKING AGAIN. Of course, the new year period has been dogged by MY COMPUTER INSISTING THAT IT WOULD NO LONGER OPEN STUFF. Not until I'd filed, archived or trashed some things. I think that says it all.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sociology 1010101010101

Andra Keay  -  12:38 PM  -  Public
Great article - describes a huge study showing that weak social ties can insert information into our online 'bubbles', reducing the echo chamber effect. However, as Mahjoo points out, the content of the new information wasn't evaluated, so really whether new information that has radical content (ie. protax if you aren't) is as effective as neutral novelty (ie. cute kitten) is still an unknown.

It's also really cool that this study covered 1.2 billion instances of link sharing from 250 million people! Massive.Edit

Howard Rheingold's profile photoHoward Rheingold originally shared this post:
The End of the Echo Chamber
A study of 250 million Facebook users reveals the Web isn’t as polarized as we thought.
Today, Facebook is publishing a study that disproves some hoary conventional wisdom about the Web. According to this new research, the online echo chamber doesn’t exist. This is of particular interest...

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

When I don't want to be me —


There's no one better than the Bloggess. She seems to share my interest in many strange geeky things and has no fear of using the word vagina. Frequently. I didn't post much in 2011 due to moving overseas and finishing my thesis... and starting the robot blog(s). So I'm kicking off 2012 with the sort of post I'd like to be posting, if only I'd finished building the dinosaur out of plastic spoons etc.

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