Afghanistan To Open Coding School For Girls

Neil deGrasse Tyson is known for a lot of things. He has advertised science and technology to thousands and even found Krypton (okay he found a planet roughly where Krypton would be and got it named after Supermans home planet). This week though he presented a session at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting. He was joined by two speakers, Massachusetts Institute Of Technology’s (MIT) professor and biomedical engineer Sangeeta Bhatia and the founder and CEO of code to inspire Fereshteh Forough. Amongst their things to discuss was a school that is set to open in Afghanistan with a purpose.

Forough explained that they plan to open a programming lab that will be targeted at women aged between 15 and 25, with the hopes that it can be used to teach women in the middle east to code and program in a safe place.

She hopes that the school will be the first of many in middle eastern countries while Bhatia suggested that they could make changes closer to home to help increase the number of women that took part in computer science programs. This comes in the same week where Stanford has reported that it has 214 female students in its Computer Science major. This figure would make it the most popular major in the University for women.

With more and more people feeling safe and confident in Computer Science, the number of people taking up the subject could soon see an even greater boost as more governments and schools make programming a part of their standard curriculum.

Thank you Huggington Post and Engadget for the information.

Image courtesy of Code Condo.

Mozilla Set to Fire Employee Responsible for Hate Speech on Reddit

Mozilla’s CEO has vowed to fire an employee who was suspected of engaging in a vitriolic tirade on Reddit. The person in question used the alias, aoiyama and expressed joyous glee from the recent departure of Mozilla’s community organizer, Christie Koehler, and said:

“Everyone was glad to see the back of her”

“When she and the rest of her blue-haired, nose-pierced ***hole feminists are gone, the tech industry will breathe a sigh of relief.”

From a PR perspective, this was a disaster as the Reddit user is a Mozilla representative and could give an overall impression of their views on gender diversity in technology. Of course, Mozilla need to take firm, authoritative action and try to project a public image of enticing women into the technology sector. I think this proves once again to use caution when ranting on a public website and step away from the keyboard in moments of anger. Respect each other and the internet will become a more harmonious place.

Mozilla’s official response to the incident is as follows:

“It’s been brought to our attention that there’s been anonymous postings to Reddit under the handle aoiyama that crossed a line from criticism to hate speech. There’s a lot to suggest that they’re a Mozillian [an employee]. Specifically, when I’m talking about crossing the line from criticism to hate speech, I’m talking about when you start saying that ‘someone’s kind doesn’t belong here and we’ll all be happy when they’re gone.’ If that’s not hate speech, it’s pretty damn close and we’re not going to walk that line as Mozilla. So if, and when, we identify who this person is and if they are an employee, they will be fired. Either way, they are not welcome to continue to participate in the Mozilla project, so if you cross that line, I’m asking you now: please leave, because you’re not welcome.”

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Electronic Arts Might Have a Woman on the Cover of FIFA 16 This Year

Electronic Arts is working on the latest FIFA 16 title, as it is every year, but this year should be different. EA has looked into adding female players in the FIFA titles, but this year the company will finally do it. But this comes with another question, which is who will be featured on the regional covers of FIFA 16?

The timing for the big change couldn’t be perfect too. The recent success of the World Cup in Canada and the US team’s victory has fans hyped up for the title. Also, to choose the regional top players, EA has devised a voting system. We see a lot of candidates being proposed in France, Latin America, Mexico and the UK. However, surprisingly, we see only women candidates being proposed for the Australian cover. The only options chosen for Australian are Kyah Simon, Steph Catley and Katrina Gorry.

Last year, FIFA’s cover consisted of two players from the specific region, alongside all-star Lionel Messi. However, this year might be extremely different, given that women’s teams will also be featured. Will we see regional covers consisting of top male and female players appearing alongside? That would be the best option to consider, however EA is said to reveal their plans in the near future. Until then, what do you think? How should EA display this year’s cover?

Thank you Polygon for providing us with this information

Largest Ever Email Study Reveals That We All Are Very Predictable

Researchers from Yahoo labs are said to have examined more than two million users exchanging about 16 billion messages in search of patterns. In order to conduct the study, they are said to have tracked the identities of senders and recipients, the time of day emails were sent, email length, the number of attachments, the type of device used, as well as demographic factors, including age and gender.

The study concluded that younger people tend to send shorter and faster replies compared to older people and that men send shorter and faster replies than women. This might not seem as something unfamiliar to us all, but the study has been performed on an extremely wide range of users and with actual proof, meaning it gives a lot more credibility to it.

Researchers also have proved that we respond more promptly during weekdays and working hours and that we respond to only a small fraction of messages, with short replies, when our inboxes get filled with new items.

The information gathered here is not only valuable to us as, but it is also valuable to computer algorithms. Developers can then use this data to create better email management applications to help and stop us from experiencing “overload”, a scientific term used when we would rather do anything else than open our inbox.

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information

Femsplain Blog Targeted with DDoS Attack on Women’s Day

According to Amber Gordon, the founder of Femsplain, the blog has been taken down Sunday by a DDoS attack for a period of 3 hours, when the services came back online. The attack cannot be deemed as random, with the site been attacked on international Women’s Day.

Gordon has shared a tweet with a screenshot clearly showing the outstanding traffic increase during the time of the attack. She has also noted that these type of attacks are not rare, however, the attacks haven’t been so severe until now.

It is also said that Twitter accounts taking responsibility for the attack used the hashtag #inteernationalwomensday, clearly emphasising that the attack was not chosen at random.

Femsplain is said to have been created late last year to create a place for women to discuss topics from online harassment to Gamergate. It has a group of female contributors who publish stories to the site, as well as share reader submissions.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information

7,000 Women Achieved a World Record for Hackathon Ahead of Women’s Day

A three-day coding marathon organised by HackerEarth, a Bengaluru-based coding platform, which started on Friday managed to get together exactly 7134 women from all around the world.

“We want to catalyse a change that encourages more women to take up technology. An IDC report found that only 18% of the 5 million developers in India were women.We want to bridge this gender gap,” said Vivek Prakash, co-founder and CTO of Hacker Earth.

The majority of women, namely around 80%, are said to have been from India, while 12% were from the United States and the rest from 34 countries around the world including UK, New Zealand, Chile, and Iraq, having to work in big-name companies such as Walmart Labs, Altimetrik, ThoughtWorks, Snapdeal, Akamai, SanDisk, Harman, Capillary, HCL, AT&T, Freshdesk, VMware and Practo.

“Writing great code can be fun for everyone.Women might feel intimidated because they do not get to see many other women in the industry .While this is unfortunate, it is surmountable.Which is why we are very happy to be a part of HackerEarth’s women’s hackathon,” said Kaushik Ghosh, head of people at ThoughtWorks India.

While the current record has been set, there is still room for another one to be set, as there’s still one more day left!

Thank you TechWorm for providing us with this information

Internet Outrage at Barbie ‘Computer Engineer’ Book

A children’s book centred around Barbie becoming a ‘computer engineer’ has faced allegations of sexism from hordes of internet users.

“I Can Be a Computer Engineer” has since been pulled from sale on Amazon after it contents went viral on the web.

The book features Barbie in the process of building a computer game, however it appears that she constantly makes mistakes and is unable to do anything productive without the help of her two male friends, Steven and Brian.

“I’m only creating the design ideas,” Barbie says, laughing. “I’ll need Steven’s and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game!”

At one point, the supposedly computer literate Barbie, inserts a virus infested USB drive into her friend’s laptop, wiping its hard drive and deleting her homework in the process.

When Barbie puts her flash drive into Skipper’s laptop, the screen starts blinking. “Oh, no!” says Barbie. “The virus must be on the flash drive!”

“I forgot to back up my homework assignment!” cries Skipper. “And all my music files are lost, too!”

Mattel, the owner of the Barbie brand, has since responded with this statement:

“We believe girls should be empowered to understand that anything is possible and believe they live in a world without limits. We apologise that this book didn’t reflect that belief. All Barbie titles moving forward will be written to inspire girls imaginations and portray an empowered Barbie character.”

As with anything like this on the web, people have reacted rather creatively, rewriting the book with terms such as “live cd”, “Debian” and  “VPN router”.

Source: The Verge