When I was a student at Cambridge I remember an anthropology professor holding up a picture of a bone with 28 incisions carved in it. “This is often considered to be man’s first attempt at a calendar” she explained. She paused as we dutifully wrote this down. ‘My question to you is this – what man needs to mark 28 days? I would suggest to you that this is woman’s first attempt at a calendar.’ It was a moment that changed my life. In that second I stopped to question almost everything I had been taught about the past. How often had I overlooked women’s contributions?
EXCERPTS >|< Life History of a Mosquito (1928)
| Hosted at: Internet Archive
A series of Animated GIFs excerpted from Life History of a Mosquito, a video showing life cycle of Aedes Aegypti: microphotography of eggs; larva, pupa and then adult mosquito emerging; female and male breeding. Made in 1928 by Kodak Research Laboratories, in co-operation with the Dept. of Bacteriology of the Medical School, University of Rochester.
We invite you to watch the full video HERE
BONUS scary skeeter stuff: Have you ever wondered what it looks like from inside your flesh as a female mosquito’s mouthparts are searching for blood slurps? There’s a video for that.
DOUBLE BONUS scary skeeter stuff: Yesterday I was looking up facts about malaria and mosquito-borne illnesses are responsible for more than 40 million lost years of life EVERY YEAR.
The questions I am often asked about my career tend to concentrate not on how one learns to code but how a woman does.
Let me separate the two words and begin with what it means to become a programmer.
The first requirement for programming is a passion for the work, a deep need to probe the mysterious space between human thoughts and what a machine can understand; between human desires and how machines might satisfy them.
The second requirement is a high tolerance for failure. Programming is the art of algorithm design and the craft of debugging errant code.
Now to the “woman” question.
I broke into the ranks of computing in the early 1980s, when women were just starting to poke their shoulder pads through crowds of men. There was no legal protection against “hostile environments for women.” I endured a client — a sweaty man with pendulous earlobes — who stroked my back as I worked to fix his system. At any moment I expected him to snap my bra. I considered installing a small software bomb but understood, right then, what was more important to me than revenge: the desire to create good systems.
I had a boss who said flatly, “I hate to hire all you girls but you’re too damned smart.” By “all” he meant three but, at the time, it was rare to find even one woman in a well-placed technical position. At a meeting, he kept interrupting me to say, “Gee, you sure have pretty hair.” By then I realized he was teaching me a great deal about computing. It would be a complicated professional relationship, in which his occasional need for male dominance would surface.
So, on that day of my pretty hair, I leaned to one side and said, “I’m just going to let that nonsense fly over my shoulder.” The meeting went on. We discussed the principles of relational databases, which later led me to explore deeper reaches of programming, closer to operating systems and networks, where I would find my real passion for the work. My leaning to one side, not confronting him, letting him be the flawed man he was, changed the direction of my technical life.
Pioneering software engineer Ellen Ullman, author of the fascinating Close to the Machine, on how to be a ‘woman programmer.’ Also see the letters of the women who helmed the tectonic cultural shift of the era Ullman describes.
- Quora Question: How do I explain recursion to a four-year-old?
- Answerer: Explain it to someone a year younger than you and ask them to do the same.
Researchers have now discovered nervous system cells transforming back into stem cells in a very surprising place: inside teeth. This unexpected source of stem cells potentially offers scientists a new starting point from which to grow human tissues for therapeutic or research purposes without using embryos.
“More than just applications within dentistry, this finding can have very broad implications,” says developmental biologist Igor Adameyko of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, who led the new work. “These stem cells could be used for regenerating cartilage and bone as well.”
Researchers were studying glial cells, which support and surround neurons that wind through the mouth and gums and help transmit signals of pain from the teeth to the brain. When they added fluorescent labels to a set of glial cells in mice, they saw that over time, some of them migrated away from neurons in the gums toward the inside of teeth, where they transformed into mesenchymal stem cells. Eventually, the same cells matured into tooth cells, the team reported this week in Nature