Monthly Archives: February 2014

Lack of Women in Technology

Comic from xkcd Girls Suck at Math

Girls Suck at Math comic from xkcd at http://xkcd.com

I recently had an interesting conversation discussing women in the tech fields. This led from the person I was talking to having previously had a conversation where people were lamenting the (limited) number of women in the tech field and trying to figure out what to do. Out of that conversation came an intriguing comment: Is the reason we do not have more women in tech fields because there is a lack of interest in the type of work it would entail? There are layers of assumptions found in this comment. The biggest one is that there is a natural difference in what men and women want to pursue in life. The other more subtle one is that there are a different set of skills that men and women have. Part of what I want to discuss today is why jumping to these conclusions without recognizing other issues is problematic. I was honestly surprised when I heard that someone made that comment.

The other part that I want to explore is all the areas that we need to look at when discussing a lack of women in a certain field (or men for that matter). One piece is looking at how society might generally view that particular field. This can greatly steer gender in a particular direction and while it is changing it can still be an influencer (especially if parents are questioning you when you break away from the societal norm). The other piece is that there might be a subculture around that particular field. In that subculture are there elements that might be telling someone, for whatever reason, that they are not welcome? Finally, is there something about the teachers or professors that are teaching the courses that make it unfriendly to someone? Now this might not be wide spread, but if there are teachers or professors that show favoritism to a particular gender it can cause a serious problem. There are those who might fight through it, but when it is a professor that can seem to hold your whole future in their hands, how easy is it to really fight against?

At the same time it is important to remember that we are progressing forward because you hear people talking about it. Continue reading

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Veronica Mars the Movie

As most of you probably know Veronica Mars the Movie is coming out in a couple of weeks. Some of you might have even helped with the Kickstarter campaign. I am so excited about this movie coming out. I watched the series when it was on originally and it was so good. The third season is a bit of a let down, but I think some of that is because they were trying so hard to keep it alive somehow. Now with the movie coming out we will finally get to see what happens to  all of our favorite characters. Which raised some questions for me.

First of all will this movie be accessible to people who do not really know the tv show? With something like this I do not know if it will matter, but it can be difficult to make the jump to a movie and still have it widely accessible. The other part that is interesting is that they are going to only release the movie in a limited number of theaters, but will do a simultaneous release to videos on demand. This creates another interesting aspect for the movie because if it is not available at my local theater will it be available via video on demand? Continue reading

Music Recommendation – Broken Bells

This month has been an amazing month for things I have been looking forward to – just a lot of things already from my list around New Year’s. The Lego Movie. Lightning Returns. But I’m running out of month, and would like to recommend the other thing I have been enjoying this month: the new album by the Broken Bells, After the Disco.

I found the Broken Bells originally through a circuitous route, following the music of Danger Mouse. I imagine other people have found this band by tracing the other member of the band: James Mercer, lead singer from The Shins. Both are excellent musicians, and they bring their skills together well.

I love their first album, the eponymous Broken Bells, and their EP Meyrin Fields. However, those have been out a couple of years, so old news I guess too. But you should check them out. Several of the songs have music videos, so I will include those below. And now they have a couple of music videos out for After the Disco as well, so you can share in the joy of this album, and see if you like their stuff too. Help me to not have a fandom of one!

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Religion in Science Fiction

Screenshot from Lightning Returns

Screenshot from Lightning Returns

David and I started playing Lightning Returns the other day and the story has major religious overtones. I knew you had 13 days until the end of the world, what I did not know is that Lightning has become the savior of souls trying to save as many people before time runs out and God remakes the world. Part of the reason you are saving the souls is because what good is the world without souls, which is an idea you could see a religion being built around. You are working for God trying to save the world, how much more connection do you need to religion? This is not the first time that religion has come up in Science Fiction. It is used in a variety of ways in various science fiction stories. One thing that I found interesting is religion in science fiction is presented in two different ways.

One is the simplest because there is a deity that people believe in and sometimes even get to see. The other option is a bit more nebulous because it is more about self improvement or self control. The different ways these religions are manifested can be an interesting. Continue reading

Geek 501 – The Guardians of the Galaxy

If you were like basically everyone at the announcement that Marvel was releasing a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and asked yourself who they were – then this post may be for you. I do not profess to be an expert on this comic or these characters; indeed, I was just as confused at the announcement as the next geek and comic reader.

Marvel has recognized this and is doing what they can to introduce the characters to people who are interested. And even for those only mildly interested, they’re structuring their trailers to show the characters as well. So I thought that they were ripe for introduction. The basics are here in the trailer, but below, I’ll give a bit more on each character!

Marvel has been sharing information about these characters in two main ways – one in the movie trailers, and there’s one for each character. The other way is through the comics. This is a pretty young group – the current configuration only started in 2008. So they recently did a bit of an origin or character point story for each, leading up to the start of the new run of the Guardians of the Galaxy. So I will consider both of these, and recommend both to you if you want to know a bit more about the characters!

Continue reading