A Woman’s Work

enter image description here Original source. (via Dangerous Minds)

It has always fascinated me that women were so well-integrated into the fabric of computing from its very inception. Famously, the first computer programmer was – shock! – female. Programming was seen as unimportant “women’s work”, while the business-end of this emerging, embryonic technology was inside the hardware and integrated circuits – wrongly, as it turned out. They dominated the ranks of the field then and played storied parts in the celebrated code-breaking team at Bletchley Park.

Honeywell Kitchen Computer Honeywell Kitchen Computer concept from 1969`(via Wired)

These photographs are a fascinating window into the late 1960s – all Polaroid pastels and cute hairdos – but evoke in the imagination the possibility of what equality looks like in our computing future.

Flying Dragons & Plasticine

Something is afoot. Ideas are on the run. The seed I’ve planted is starting to take hold. We’re starting as a class to have broad, free-wheeling conversations in-between the practicals. We had a special guest in – a neuroscientist – and it was nice to see the young ones light up in her presence.

a message

So, what is actually going on? I do suppose it would be useful to devise some kind of syllabus, but there is rough plan growing even if I’m winging-it just a bit.

on twitter

“Can we create a nanotechnology to create clean water in polluted environments?” came a question. That’s a good question. Code is glue. It binds ideas together like an intellectual plasticine, and people are beginning to see it. I’m excited.


Learning Mathematics In Formation #CauseISlay

I’m not suggesting a new mathematics regimen that makes learning hard sciences even more generally joyless than they already are. Rewinding to Black History Month, all 28 days (the shortest month of the year!), Bey dropped wax that set pop culture alight with “Formation”.

It’s her hat-tip to the grassroots and activists fighting for social justice.

Cleverly, this teacher has managed to wrangle an entire maths class based around the tune! How good is that?


I’ve always wondered how hip-hop culture could leverage rhyme, repetition and rhythm to augment the learning experience. It could make remembering gnarly bits of boring detail quite fun. The brain has mechanisms for the acquisition of language – is the same true for learning?

brain illustration

Remixed. Link.

Somehow, seconds into the opening bars of long-forgotten pop songs, I manage near-perfect recall of the most obscure lyrics. They somehow manage to surface seconds in, clinging to the cracks of my memory. Can the same process be used as a way to retain useful information for study? It can be the basis of a new kind of culturally-driven learning.