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Tuesday's post on Geek Feminism entitled : "Quick Hit: Men, Medicine, and Meritocracy vs Affirmative Action" has some interesting discussion going on in the comments. The article is about how med schools in Canada are seeing more female applicants than male ones (and are accepting a lot of women) and some of the "stealth" affirmative action that's been taken to keep medicine from getting very disbalanced.

Wednesday's post on Web Insecurity is about firesheep. Nothing too insightful, just lauding the cleverness of it in a social hacking sense, and thinking, "why didn't we ever bother to build this in university?" (We did similar hacks for fun and education of our peers.)

Wednesday's CU-WISE blog post is on the subject of Dot Diva: The Webisode. (You can also see an extended version of the dot diva post on Geek Feminism.) We see a lot of outreach aimed at teaching girls computer science, but this is a project that tries to tackle the image of computer science. Their inspirations included the changed attitudes towards forensics thanks to shows like CSI. I'm torn because I found parts of the webisode awkward, but others fun, and I really think they've got some good brains and ideas behind this project.

Thursday's Web Insecurity post Why 12 year olds may be our best bug hunters is about this cool 12 year old boy named Alex Miller who collected on one of the Mozilla bug bounties. I always find adult reactions to smart kids can be a bit strange and sometimes condescending, so this is me musing on how the 12 year olds I've worked with are actually pretty awesome.

In non-blogging news, I'm working on some stuff about web standards vs attacks and vulnerabilities that I'll probably be posting privately soon for comments and ideas before I start putting together more comprehensive ideas for the IETF websec group. Their current discussion on dnssec irks me because it seems... mildly irrelevant to some of the real problems I assumed the group was destined to solve. I'm biased on the subject of DNSSec (see The Futility of DNSSec), but surely websec should be talking about more broad initiatives?
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I've started up a regular Wednesday thing on the CUWISE blog, inspired by some folk I knew in high school who used to do fun things on Wednesdays to break up the week a bit. I'm queueing them up well in advance as I find things that are kind of fun.

Today, I found this cute video of dolphins blowing bubble rings (embedded below):

And then I started writing up some text to go with explaining why this felt like fun science and engineering to me:

Observing animal behaviours is an important part of biology, but a part that maybe doesn't have as long a history as one might think: one of my relatives told a tale of how birdwatchers used to shoot the birds and identify them later, rather than the more modern (and humane!) way of trying to identify them on the wing. I've met naturalists who hope we'll see a switch to observing bugs the way we do birds. And Jane Goodall, when she was visiting Ottawa for the Writer's Festival, talked about how when she recorded her observations of chimpanzees many people told her that she was being foolish to ascribe emotions to them when trying to explain their behaviour!

Now the thing I'd like to verify is that Carm (the relative who has/d the stuffed bird collection and who was telling us about birders of yore) mentioned that he didn't think regular folk really got interested in bird identification (as opposed to just bird shooting) until the Peterson Field Guides became available. The wikipedia page for the guides does imply that they were a very practical guide for non-scientists, but doesn't really credit them with changing the face of birding. Does anyone know if Peterson is really the one who really changed the face, or was it another guide that started the trend, or is it all murky? I'm trying to find a way to fit that little tidbit of info into the post because I thought it was cool, but I don't know how accurate it is!
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Tomorrow, I'm presenting as part of the Celebration of Women in Science and Engineering at Carleton. It's going to be a really fun event showcasing some of our female students, faculty and staff. In fact, you can hear us talk about it on CBC Radio 1 sometime early tomorrow morning... I'm guessing around 6:20am, but I foolishly forgot to ask.

To give you a taste of my research talk, here's a couple of slides. But you'll have to come for the whole thing to learn about how to cause Facebook drama and call it science, or how I managed to fit a LOLcat into my professional research presentations.

I'm on to talk about my research at 2:30 Thursday (tomorrow!) in 5115HP. Or 11:30 if you want to see me be even more snarky regarding misconceptions and computer science.
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Looks like our radio interview will be pre-taped tomorrow later in the morning, rather than done live at 8:20ish. This is a relief, as I'm feeling a bit frazzled and knowing the interview isn't live should make life easier. Plus, I get to sleep in a bit more and not go downtown during rush hour, so that's pretty awesome. :)

Not sure when it will air, but probably very early on Thursday morning.
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Gail and I are going to be on CBC Ottawa Morning on Wednesday to talk about the Celebration of Women in Science and Engineering, and probably about our experiences as women in computer science. When I chatted with the producer last week, we talked a bunch about How does biology explain the low numbers of women in computer science? Hint: it doesn't., the short presentation I made back in November and will be presenting in person for the first time at the celebration on Thursday. Apparently the CBC can't resist a snarky title either. ;)


We've been asked to come in around 8:20-8:30, just before the news, so if you tune in around 8:15 you should be able to catch us. CBC Radio 1 is 91.5FM in Ottawa. And for those of you who won't be by a radio in the morning, or who don't live in Ottawa, you can also listen online:


I don't know offhand if our clip will be available later in the day, and if you have some way to record it so we can put it on the WISE site, we'd really love that, so please get in touch!

EDIT: Change of plans. More details here, but short version is we're going to pretape tomorrow, not sure when we'll be aired (probably Thursday very early).
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