So, you know all those times when you’re sitting at home and, all of a sudden, you’re struck with the thought, “Oh, no! My date — Feminist Ryan Gosling — is coming over at 7:00, and I have nothing planned for us to do!” Right? Right. We know.
For all your feminist-dream-lover, last-minute-date-planning needs, 3 of our favorite feminist talks (and a dreamy picture we made just for you):
The sexy lie: Caroline Heldman at TEDxYouth@SanDiego
The scene: As you watch Caroline Heldman bust out some A+ feminist theory all over the TEDx stage, Feminist Ryan Gosling will look over at you and say, “The only thing I want to objectify is this moment, so I can carry it with me wherever I go.” Then you’ll get ice cream. Mint chocolate chip.
Inspiring the next generation of female engineers: Debbie Sterling at TEDxPSU
The scene: You and Feminist Ryan Gosling will discuss your shared anger about the disparity between the number of male and female engineers in the US, comparing plans to make STEM fields more inclusive. Over a big slice of vegetarian pizza, he’ll admit that he backed Sterling’s GoldieBlox Kickstarter campaign so his niece will have a toy that she can really believe in. Sigh.
How movies teach manhood: Colin Stokes at TEDxBeaconStreet
The scene: As Colin Stokes discusses the (often depressingly anti-feminist) messages that movies send to young boys and girls, you and Feminist Ryan Gosling will make a batch of banana bread and try to name a movie you’ve both seen that passes the Bechdel Test. Things will get a little weird when you realize it’s The Last Exorcism Part II, but hey, The Notebook did sorta maybe pass.
Ada Lovelace (via IBNLive)
Today is Ada Lovelace Day, an opportunity to celebrate pioneering women in science, technology, engineering, and math. Who is Ada Lovelace, you ask? Well, just the person who wrote the first computer program, way back in the 1800s, before many women even had the right to vote. The awful thing is — not much progress has been made since then in supporting women in STEM fields.
That’s why Ada Lovelace day exists. Say the founders of the holiday:
It’s difficult to name the women excelling in STEM because they are all but invisible…Despite evidence that girls do well in such subjects at school, few go on to study them at university and even fewer then get jobs in these fields.
But female STEM superstars do exist. To celebrate them, two female scientists, Maia Weinstock and Anne Fausto-Sterling, are organizing a Wikipedia edit-a-thon today to help correct the imbalance between the number of male scientists and number of female scientists covered on Wikipedia. Join in if you have time!
And, of course, we have a few of our own superstars to celebrate today. Below, 7 talks from women who are expanding our scientific horizons:
When Larissa Oliveira arrived in Peru to study a new species of fur seal, she discovered that it was already threatened by the loss of its primary food source due to overfishing and the effects of climate change. She shares her story of taking action to convince governments and communities that the the little-known anchovita fish — and the creatures who depend on it — are worth saving. (Spanish, with English subtitles).
Flowers are astoundingly manipulative, and need to be if they are to defend themselves against predators, find food and reproduce. Heather Whitney sheds light on the invisible tactics flowers use to exploit their pollinators.
You’re smart. Possibly even brilliant. But we’re willing to bet that you’ve got nothing on these kids. (Believe us, we don’t either.)
See, these kids rule. They’re developing mathematical theories before they hit puberty, teaching computers to diagnose breast cancer, analyzing air pollutants, and finding ways to prevent carcinogens forming in grilled chicken. Because what else would you do in grade school?
So to give us all a little hope for the future — 5 TEDx talks from kids who are way smarter than the rest of us:
1. The 10-year-old Princeton student / astrophysicist: Jacob Barnett
At age two, boy genius Jacob Barnett was diagnosed with autism, and doctors told his parents he may never talk or learn. By age nine, not only could he talk and learn, he had already built a series of mathematical models that expanded Einstein’s theory of relativity. He’s funny and boisterous and totally freaking brilliant.
2. The girl who taught a computer to diagnose breast cancer … in middle school: Brittany Wenger
When most of us were cutting out pictures from magazines or stressing about soccer team tryouts, teen wunderkind Brittany Wegner was teaching a computer to diagnose breast cancer. That impressive feat required 600 hours of coding and 7.6 million trials, and has the potential to save millions of lives. So…NBD, really.
3. iPhone app developer … and 6th grader: Thomas Suarez
Most 12-year-olds love playing video games, but Thomas Suarez went a step beyond. He taught himself how to create them. After developing popular iPhone apps like “Bustin Jeiber,” a whack-a-mole game, Thomas is now using his skills to help other kids learn to become developers — that is, when he’s not hanging out with MakerBot co-founder and TED Fellow Bre Pettis.
4. The high school student who created a new way to detect cancer … before he could vote: Jack Andraka
While other kids were struggling to memorize the periodic table or master the structure of DNA, Jack Andraka was busy isolating proteins, reading research papers, and, you know, developing a test to detect pancreatic cancer: one that takes only 3 cents to run and runs at a nearly 100% accuracy rate. Kinda impressive, we think. .
5. Three girls who fight carcinogens, asthma, and chemotherapy resistance in their free time: Lauren Hodge, Shree Bose, Naomi Shah
Here’s a trio of science superstars for you: Lauren Hodge discovered how crafty cooking can stop carcinogenic compounds forming in grilled chicken; Shree Bose spent 12 years researching how cancer patients develop resistance to chemotherapy drugs; and Naomi Shah discovered new ways to approach asthma after analyzing indoor air pollutants, air quality, and lung health. Isn’t that what everyone does in their free time?