Filed under STEM

Many Links for a Friday


Static Shock: Blackout (Short Film)

STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math)

Banned from Kickstarter for being a Stalking Victim — Wow, Kickstarter. Good. Fucking. Game.

Internet Entrepreneurship is Getting Arab Women into the Business World

‘Sandwich Makers’ Finally Described as ‘Female’ in Facebook’s Leet Speak Option — “In the interest of hearing all sides of the situation—it’s only fair—I fired off an e-mail to our contacts at Facebook PR asking for comment on the “54ndw1ch m4k3r” description. Not long after the e-mail was sent, I checked the settings again and “54ndw1ch m4k3r” had quietly been changed to “Female” under the Leet Speak option. But why did Facebook wait until now to do so?”

Hackerspace for Moms in Berkeley — Holy cow, this is so cool.


Female Science Fiction Author Reading List

Chimamanda Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story — I may have linked this before and I’m likely to someday link it again, but every time this comes back on my radar, I just want to share its awesomeness.

Amy Boggs on Diversity in Books and Why She Wants to See More


Before you ask, I’m not linking to the stupid Oatmeal bullshit because no.

The Type of Women I Want to See at PAX — A personal essay on being trans at a gaming convention.

Colonialism and Games — A game specifically designed to bring up discussion about colonialism.

Ten Year Old Makes Audio-Only Game for his Blind Grandmother — HANG ON I HAVE SOMETHING IN MY EYE


Tosh.O Suggests Dudes Should Grope Women For Laughs — So can we arrest him yet? I discovered that making mediocre television isn’t a crime (unfortunately), but surely this must be?


How to Spot a Male Fauxminist — Male Fauxminist, better known as The Nice Guy

Why the ‘Girl’ Matters: Yet Another Post About Geek Girls and Gamer Girls — While I don’t agree with using the word “girl” to self-describe, I respect opinions and think that, of the opinions that disagree with mine, this is well-stated.

Hot Girl + Nerd Culture = Poser

Hey Everyone: Stop Taking This Picture. No, I Mean It — The tits/ass/glance over the shoulder shot. You know the one.

Many Links for a Friday


Whitewashing, Racebending, and Why “We’re All Human” is Bullshit — I am putting this first for a reason. READ IT.

John Carter is from Mars, and Women are Nowhere in Sight — So apparently the female character in John Carter… does stuff? Is active? You wouldn’t know she even existed going by the trailers. Marketing fail.

STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math)

Cookie of the Week: Chad Whitacre — Came up with a name for something that was dumb; got called out on dumbness; apologised and changed the name. Win.

Female Students Wary of Engineering Workplace — “Women who have internships or jobs find they are too often relegated to ‘female’ roles of note-taker, organizer or manager…” and “a fair amount of the older men in my working environment treat me like I know nothing and I’m only working there because my dad works there.”

Etsy Hacker Grants: Supporting Women in Technology — in conjunction with Hacker School, Etsy is announcing a new scholarship and sponsorship program for women in technology

Visualizing What it Takes to be a Woman in the Tech Industry: An Infographic

Internet Entrepreneurship is getting Arab Women into the Business World — “Adbullah Alghadouni is CEO of the, a Saudi-Arabian site aimed at helping women find jobs in a nation where they are not legally allowed to drive.”

In a letter from a little girl to Albert Einstein:

I forgot to tell you, in my last letter, that I was a girl. I mean I am a girl. I have always regretted this a great deal, but by now I have become more or less resigned to the fact.

Anyway, I hate dresses and dances and all the kind of rot girls usually like. I much prefer horses and riding. Long ago, before I wanted to become a scientist, I wanted to be a jockey and ride horses in races. But that was ages ago, now. I hope you will not think any the less of me for being a girl!

And Einstein responded:

I do not mind that you are a girl, but the main thing is that you yourself do not mind. There is no reason for it.



Women at Gaming Events — A positive note on women at gaming events: Seems there are more! And not just women, but families! Kind of awesome.

Titular Characters and Gendered Titles — “… when I hear the term ‘Lady Captain’, I hear an unnecessary gendering of my character whose gender was never in question anyway.”

MTG Tournament Participants Not Immune to Sexism — Excuse me while I recover from the shock.

Network of Video Game Creators Tries to Equal the Playing Field — “They just assume the woman at one of these events isn’t a game developer in her own right but just there as somebody’s girlfriend… We need to get reality to catch up.”

Bastion and Men as Automatic Protagonists — Why all the characters with stories and motivations gots to be mens, and the one lady character is just a prop? Spoilers for Bastion within.


Sharing my Own Privileged Dumbassery — I feel like it’s been a little while since we’ve talked about how awesome Jim Hines is. Let’s talk about that! He’s awesome!

The Problem is Not the Books — Oldie but a goodie. When people cry about how there are no books for boys to read, maybe let us ask ourselves why we think boys can’t read books about girls (but girls can read books about boys).

Cover Trends and the Female Body — “In thinking about these covers and thinking a lot more about the notion of gendering books, I’ve really found myself finding fault with a lot of ya covers. More specifically, the ones marketed to teen girls.”

The BSFA Awards — So, that happened, and Meaney happened, and it’s worth reading and chasing the links, just to know. It’s also a happy-making to know that apparently many people simply walked out of the award ceremony in protest. That pleases me.


Newcastle Ad: Brewer’s Hands — So, I think what they wanted to say, if I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt here, is that they don’t need to use scantily clad women to sell their beer? Maybe? Eh, who am I kidding, they’re sexist assholes too. Great going, beer!

The New Aesthetics of the Male Gaze — An interesting take on New Aesthetic, surveillance, and male gaze.

ok lets see if that thing with glasses chicks suddenly becoming super weird feminine when they whip off their glasses works — hilarity ensues

Why Rape Jokes Are Never Okay — They’re just not, mkay?

Many Links for a Tuesday

Emptying the link coffers. This is just part of it, I don’t want to drown you in links.


Is Game of Thrones Too White? — by Saladin Ahmed

Step Into My Film School: The Importane of Casting In Breaking Open Movie Stereotypes — This is what internalized –isms looks like.

STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math)

NASA Girls, New Mentoring Program — Eligible girls in grades 5-8 can apply to be selected in this program where they will be mentored one-on-one by a woman working at NASA.

Abandoned by Facebook and Foursquare; Creepy, Stalker-Enabling App “Girls Around Me” is Pulled by Developer — This is just gross and I’m so glad it was pulled. I can’t believe it was ever approved in the first place.


There’s No Such Thing as a Good Stereotype — Discussing why stereotypes of positive qualities are still a bad thing.

We’re All the Same Deep Down — Why this statement of how we’re “all the same, really” kind of misses the point.

Evil Straight White Dude — Why opening your comments with “I’m just a straight white guy so you’ll probably ignore what I have to say” is really really stupid.


Mists of Panderia: First Impressions and Nitpicks — World of Warcraft’s new expansion and — surprise!! — sexism.

The Unsung Female Game Designers of Japan — My favorite part? There’s only pictures of the games they made!


Grammar Tip: Woman vs Female — Apparently it’s hard for some people to know when to use “woman” and when to use “female.” Spoilers: one is a noun, one is an adjective.

Misogyny Isn’t Caused by Male Horniness — There was this Cracked article recently about how men are trained to hate women, which kind of missed the mark for me, and thankfully there’s a writeup as to why.

Many Links for a Friday

Couple of book-keepy things:

  • If you are on the Facebook, and you like Team Valkyrie, perhaps you could like it on Facebook?
  • If you are on tumblr, you should know, we are on tumblr too.
  • If you tweet, and want to tweet at us, we’re on twitter.
  • Note that we actually do respond to tweets and questions and stuff on the Facebook, and comments make us happy and make us post more.
  • Also, since we’re about to start a new month, that means we’re about to start a new series of cute animal pictures. April is for Sloths. So say we all.

Okay, now onto linkspam.

STEM – Science Technology Engineering Math

What’s the Big Deal? — “Over the course of this internet argument, I had several well-meaning and curious guys reach out to me to try and understand what all the fuss was about. They seemed like good people, but they were missing something about what it means to be sexist. … So I’m going to take a shot at explaining.”

On Women in Tech — My favorite quote from this is the header “Frats Preserve Tradition, Startups Disrupt it”

Rachel Graham, The Jane Goodall of Sharks — Awesome!

Women in physics: A Tale of Limits — Really long, lots of data, kind of depressing, but good knowledge, because knowledge and understanding can lead to action.

Some Things to Think About Before You Exhort Everyone to Code — Why telling minorities “just learn to code!” doesn’t really work.

Amalie Noether, The Most Significant Mathematician You’ve Never Heard Of


Show, don’t tell: why they need to be there — On the importance of diversity of main characters in fiction, and what it means to readers

You Don’t Read Women Authors, Do You?

Should science fiction and fantasy do more than entertain? — Opens with the image caption of “Poor representations … The 2012 film John Carter continues to rely on racial sterotypes to establish the ‘otherness’ of its alien characters.” and goes from there. Comments are mixed.


On being the “face of the community” while female


Geeks Respond to Their Friend Coming Out — Kind of awesome, read the whole thing.

Surprise! I’m Not a Booth Babe


I’m introducing a new linkspam category because I think we need it. Reality is ugly, folks.

NOM Strategy: Divide ‘Blacks’ and ‘Latinos’ Against ‘Gays’ to Get Critical Votes — So, this happened. Excuse me while I deal with this surprise.

Women’s Media Center’s Media Guide for Gender Neutral Coverage of Women Candidates and Politicians — Because we really need this, as pathetic as that is.

Sqoot Knows Squat About Apologies

Sqoot was a company I’d never heard of until their recent, massive, epic flub. It all started with this stupid ad for the Boston API Jam:

Can’t imagine why that might cause a problem.

A lot of people got mad. Rightly so. Advertisers pulled their dollars. And Sqoot was caught in a shitstorm of its own creation. So they did what any company whose PR department consists of one flakey intern: they fauxpologised.

While we thought this was a fun, harmless comment poking fun at the fact that hack-a-thons are typically male-dominated, others were offended. That was not our intention and thus we changed it.

Translation: “Look, guys, we still think this is funny, but apparently you all got your panties in a knot or something, so whatever, we’re changing it. Now let’s all go to Hooters.”

I looked for the sauce gdoc on that one, but I can’t find it. Maybe it’s been pulled? I don’t know. Possibly, because when people found this non-apology insufficient, they issued a second semi-fauxpology.

Recently, we decided to host a hack-a-thon in Boston. Our goal: to bring developers together with the community and new technologies to build amazing things. Like any good party, we wanted great music, great people, and great food. We wanted to do better than pizza and soft drinks, and truly wanted everyone involved to benefit in a big way. We didn’t want developers to leave in the same cliques they came with because of a lack of cross-pollination nor did we want sponsors to spend thousands of dollars yet still miss connecting with ideal users. We really wanted to do better.

Unfortunately, we did worse. When we put together the original event page, we used language that we now realize was reckless and hurt efforts to diversify gender in tech. We immediately and deservedly received an enormous backlash. While we aimed to call attention to the male-dominated tech world through humor and intended to be inclusive, the gravity of our wording was just the opposite. Our words completely undermined our intentions and went further to harm the world we’re trying to have a positive impact on.

We apologize unequivocally to our sponsors, customers, friends and family, and community. We’d like to thank everyone for being so outspoken. As a young startup, we learned a lot today and are better people and a better company for it.

As we decide whether to continue with the event, or reschedule for another time, we will focus efforts on making sure that our event marketing is inclusive to all. We will do better.

If you have any questions, or want to chat, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Now you might be thinking, well, that ain’t so bad. They “unequivocally apologize” so that’s pretty good, right? Well, first of all, this is a second apology, not an initial apology, so it’s only here because someone, somewhere, finally got the hint that to properly apologize, you have to sound like you’re actually sorry. And second of all, look at that shit I done bolded.

“Humor that intended to be inclusive.” Really? I mean, really? In what world does singling women out as service-givers, as something to come give you beer, as entities that don’t participate in the coding part, they’re just there to look cute, folks, while the men do the real work, count as inclusive? In what world does pandering exclusively to the most base heterosexual males count as inclusive?

This tells me one of two things is true, with regards to Sqoot. One, they actually don’t get it. Sqoot does not actually understand what “inclusive” means. They don’t get what they did wrong, despite being yelled at by tonnes of tweeters, bloggers, and advertisers. They honestly just don’t understand. Or two, they totally get it, but they just ran out of fucks to give. Sqoot really wishes they could have just gotten away with an event where chicks hand them beer while they coded, and don’t get what all these whiny bitches be whining about, but they lost money, so they guess they should apologize or something.

So which is it, Sqoot: Idiots, or assholes?

But there’s something awesome that came out of this: women were stupidly objectified and treated as non-participants in the programming community, and the community flipped. And not just flipped like a few blogs got angry about it. People pulled participation, they pulled dollars. A company wasn’t just given a wag of the finger, they were financially punished for their behaviour.

This makes me really happy. It’s hard to remember sometimes, as a lady engineer dealing with my own ish here at my job, that there are really decent people out there. And they’re not small in number. It’s really comforting that there are people who will stand up and say “this is not acceptable, we do not talk about people this way, and we do not treat people this way.” So, you know what, Sqoot? Thanks for that.

Tagged , ,

she++ – Upcoming Conference for Women in Technology at Stanford

she++, a Conference for Women in Technology, to be held at Stanford on April 21.

Look, I’m going to ignore the stupid web site (pink and purple and a high heel, great job everyone) and I’m just going to focus on their stated goals:

  1. Highlight the opportunities and role models available to aspiring women in technology
  2. Brainstorm the barriers separating women from technology and catalysts to overcome them
  3. Facillitate a collaborative, focused forum that produces concrete goals and actions

That could be pretty cool. Of course I can’t go (it’s local! but I’ll be out of town) but I hope perhaps one of you can. Registration is limited, so if you want to go you should sign up soon!

Making Math Nerds out of paired-up X-Chromosomes

While perusing through the fascinating links provided by our fantastic Head Valkyrie, I stumbled across this article discussing a new way to increase female participation in math contests.  Well, the method isn’t new, exactly – affirmative action’s been around for years.  But it’s working – and by working, I mean it’s bringing more girls into math competitions – so that’s good, I guess.

Now, I’m no stranger to math and science competitions.  I competed in the Science Olympiad in high school and I helped organize the MathCounts competition a few years ago, and I didn’t notice a particular lack of girls, though I didn’t notice a lot of them, either.  So I think that anything bringing more girls into the realm of math, science and tech contests is a good thing.  However, I can’t help thinking that, if this policy had been in place when I was competing, and I’d won, I’d constantly be wondering if I won because I was really the best, or because they’re looking to fill the quota.

However, like I said before, if it’s bringing in more girls, then that’s good.  And it should be noted that this program isn’t giving girls an unfair advantage – it merely favors them if they’re on equal standing with the male competitors, and it’s promoting diversity, which I’m all for.  I’m just hoping that it’ll be a temporary fix, and will become unnecessary later, when hopefully more girls will be interested in competing in these sorts of activities.

Google Thinks I’m a Dude

So everybody knows by now that Google thinks us nerd ladies are in fact dudebros with penids right?

I opted out of that shit post-haste, but that was mostly because I didn’t want to deal with what might come out of changing my gender to reflect accurately who I am. Because I’m not sure what the result will wind up being. Will I change their algorithm? Will it be smart enough to realize that ladies in fact do enjoy these things, and start to realize that “women who love ipads might also be interested in learning about the new lineup of ultrabooks from CES”? Or will they simply start advertizing to me that which they believe all women love? I mean, sure, I enjoys me my makeup and clothes and making my hair did, but I ain’t exactly the fashion industry’s target demographic, especially considering my idea of a “cute outfit” is neon tights, shorts, and a brightly colored Transformers tee. And there are exactly zero people in Hollywood I want to “keep up with.” (Okay well except for maybe Jane Espenson. Lady is a baller, yo.)

The shorthand version of this problem is “gender essentialism” — basically anybody who enjoys these sorts of things, gaming, technology, programming, comics, science fiction, well they must be a dude obviously, because girls don’t like those things. It does everybody involved a disservice, I think.

So yeah, thanks Google, for affirming what I knew all along: I am between the ages of 18 and 24, and I have a huge penix.

Although on the plus side, this led to one of my more-favoriter twitter conversations (I’m @geardrops).

Yesterday In History: Science Academy Tells Marie Curie, ‘Non’

So we all know about Marie Curie right? My personal hero growing up? (Polish scientist lady? Obviously she was my hero growing up.) Apparently, despite being five kinds of awesome, the French Academy of Sciences did not allow her within their hallowed walls. Despite having won the Nobel prize, being the head of the physics lab at Sorbonne, and being the first-ever woman to earn her doctorate and be a professor of general physics at Faculty of Sciences.

From Wired:

Her “liabilities,” however — Curie was Polish, rumored to be Jewish (an erroneous assumption; actually, her mother was Catholic and her father an atheist), and a woman — outweighed her qualifications, at least among those who counted. As one Academy member, Emile Hilaire Amagat, stated flatly: “Women cannot be part of the Institute of France.”

So instead she went on and got a second Nobel prize instead. Bitches.

PIPA and SOPA May be Gone, but ACTA is Still a Threat

What’s ACTA? An international discussion of Internet monitoring in the name of stopping copyright infringement. It’s happening with select companies, behind closed doors, and very little information is being made public on what the actual contents of ACTA are.


While little information has been made available by the governments negotiating ACTA a document recently leaked to the public entitled “Discussion Paper on a Possible Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement” from an unknown source gives an indication of what content industry rightsholder groups appear to be asking for – including new legal regimes to “encourage ISPs to cooperate with right holders in the removal of infringing material” criminal measures and increased border search powers. The Discussion Paper leaves open how Internet Service Providers should be encouraged to identify and remove allegedly infringing material from the Internet. However the same industry rightsholder groups that support the creation of ACTA have also called for mandatory network-level filtering by Internet Service Providers and for Internet Service Providers to terminate citizens’ Internet connection on repeat allegation of copyright infringement (the “Three Strikes” /Graduated Response) so there is reason to believe that ACTA will seek to increase intermediary liability and require these things of Internet Service Providers. While mandating copyright filtering by ISPs will not be technologically effective because it can be defeated by use of encryption efforts to introduce network level filtering will likely involve deep packet inspection of citizens’ Internet communications. This raises considerable concerns for citizens’ civil liberties and privacy rights and the future of Internet innovation.

Emphasis mine.

Visit the EFF Site on ACTA to find out more about it, and what you can do.