succumbing to peer pressure

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Is this really true? I have to confess to being a bad citizen and seriously sitting out, well, almost the entirety of the economic crisis. I know, I know, I should be well-informed, and probably up in arms about something, but, well, dissertation and all that! That's a good excuse, right? Anyway, seriously?

It's like someone showed them a flowchart. Once. And only for a few seconds. And refused to explain it. My editor Ann Friedman just walked into the room. "It looks like they're building a budget molecule," she said.

A budget molecule. Maybe that's what they were doing.

I mean, I'm all for schadenfreude when it comes to the Republican party, but are they melting down?

Back to work?

I've got 9 days to wrap up these loose ends at the request of my committee and get them to sign misc paperwork, submit a copy of my dissertation online, and walk one paper copy over to the grad school. But it's raining and I've got a sort of unintentionally mournful mix of Travis (Driftwood) and old school Counting Crows (Anna Begins) coming from the laptop and can I have one more day wrapped up on the couch with a book and some coffee?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Turns out I defended on Ada Lovelace Day! How great is that?

Ada was born in 1815, and, thanks to her mother, received tutoring in mathematics. She developed a friendship with Charles Babbage, who enlisted her to translate Louis Menebrea's memoir about an 'analytical engine.'

Ada called herself "an Analyst (& Metaphysician)," and the combination was put to use in the Notes. She understood the plans for the device as well as Babbage but was better at articulating its promise. She rightly saw it as what we would call a general-purpose computer. It was suited for "developping [sic] and tabulating any function whatever. . . the engine [is] the material expression of any indefinite function of any degree of generality and complexity." Her Notes anticipate future developments, including computer-generated music.

Feministing has an excellent list of additional geek-girl heroines.

In the same spirit, I offer this Women's History Month Quiz (if you're so inclined, creator Deborah Siegel suggests copying the quiz to your own blog and adding a question of your own):

1. In 2009, women make up what percent of the U.S. Congress?
A. 3%
B. 17%
C. 33%
D. 50%

2. How many CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are female?
A. 12
B. 28
C. 59
D. 84

3. Who was the first First Lady to create her own media presence (ie hold regular press conferences, write a daily newspaper column and a monthly magazine column, and host a weekly radio show)?
A. Eleanor Roosevelt
B. Jacqueline Kennedy
C. Pat Nixon
D. Hillary Clinton

4. The Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced to Congress in:
A. 1923
B. 1942
C. 1969
D. 1971

5. Who was the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature?
A. Phyllis Wheatley
B. Alice Walker
C. Toni Morrison
D. Maya Angelou

6. What percentage of union members are women today?
A. 10%
B. 25%
C. 35%
D. 45%

7. What year did the Griswold v. Connecticut decision guarantee married women the right to birth control?
A. 1960
B. 1965
C. 1969
D. 1950

8. Which state has NOT ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)?

A. Egypt
B. Australia
C. United States
D. China

ANSWERS: 1:B, 2:A, 3:A, 4:A, 5:C, 6:D, 7:B, 8:C


Monday, March 23, 2009

Because Mom and Dad are awesome, they sent this tonight: