Quickies

Quickies: Soviet Video Games, Tech’s Diversity Gap, and an App That Walks You Home

  • The Alternative Universe Of Soviet Arcade Games – “When you walk into the Museum of Soviet Arcade Games in St. Petersburg, the first thing you’ll see is a series of gray, hard-edged soda machines from the early 1980s. If you choose the one in the middle, it will dispense a tarragon-flavored and slightly fermented soda whose recipe relies on a syrup that has not been mass produced since the fall of the Soviet Union. It tastes not unlike a mix of molasses and breath mints.”
  • IBM’s School Could Fix Education—And Tech’s Diversity Gap – “Tech companies are long on excuses about why they’ve been so slow to diversify their ranks, even in the face of constant criticism. But by far the most frequently cited reason is they can’t hire diverse employees en masse until the country builds a diverse pipeline of skilled tech workers. With P-TECH, IBM has done nothing if not create a prototype of that pipeline. Now, it’s calling on other tech leaders to take that prototype and do what they do best: scale it to the millions of people—in this case kids—who need it most.” From Donna.
  • When Big Data becomes bad data: The limits of analytics – “Corporations are increasingly using algorithms to make business decisions, raising a host of new legal questions.”
  • A new app that lets users’ friends ‘virtually walk them home at night’ is exploding in popularity – “Those contacted then receive an SMS text message with a hyperlink in it that sends them to a web page with an interactive map showing the user walking to their destination. If the user strays off their path, falls, is pushed, starts running, or has their headphones yanked out of their phone, the app detects these changes in movement and asks the user if they’re OK.” Thank goodness for modern technology. From Amy.
  • The Emotional Sticker Shock Of Parenting – “Don’t get me wrong, the joy and love, and the privilege of having the company of children are unrivaled. But let’s face it: so is the helpless worry. Just when you think you have made it through your panic about a 2-month-old’s unsoothable colic, you come face to face with your first really bad round of croup. And on it goes. Every time you start feeling at ease with one parenting moment, a few weeks or months or years pass, and you find yourself in the middle of the next, new, confusing place. But the real kicker is that the stream of unmapped places know no end.” If you had told me this before I had a kid, I would not have believed it.

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Mary

Mary

Mary Brock is a scientist who works on drugs you've hopefully never heard of. She enjoys cooking to Blue Grass music, messing with her cats, and hosting the Boston Skeptics' Book Club. She was born in the South but loves living in New England (despite the lack of chocolate chip pizza). Mary does not use Twitter and don't even try to follow her, because she is always looking over her shoulder.

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1 Comment

  1. September 10, 2015 at 1:16 am —

    Mary,

    Personally I think that Soviet era cola sounds pretty disgusting, but to each his own I guess.

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