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A woman’s place is — in the lab

Tabia Santos
Photo from Science News for Students.

Science News for Students, the sister publication to Science News, recently highlighted the importance of women in STEM in a feature that shows the amazing females involved in the front lines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The number of women in science or engineering has increased in recent years, but not nearly enough. Women and men both study science in high school, but men still outnumber women in research jobs.

Science News for Students covers scientific topics written in language that teens can understand.

Read all about amazing women in various scientific fields, including:

Taking back tech

This is a really interesting piece by Melody Kramer about how journalists can create and control technology, instead of being controlled by tech. Kramer interviewed Dave Winer, a software developer who has worked on blogging, podcasting and content management systems — such as an open-source version of Medium, a blogging platform.

Journalism students should learn how to set up Web servers and blogging systems.

Learning how to run servers and CMS encourages creative thinking, Winer said. “And it’s a gateway drug for coding,” he said.
Winer encouraged journalism students and journalists to use their own servers and CMS, instead of sites like Medium. Medium, and other apps and sites we rely heavily on now for social media and distribution could very easily disappear in a few years or longer down the road. What does this mean for all of the stories that are being shared on Medium (and those other sites)? Will there be an archive for people of the future? Will these stories disappear? Winer discussed the importance of records for the sake of knowledge on an example post for his open-source version of Medium.

“Will the Big Think piece you just posted to Medium be there in 2035? That may sound like it’s very far off in the future, and who could possibly care, but if there’s any value to your writing, you should care.

It’s no longer just a theory that platforms like Medium or Twitter or even Facebook do go away. I wouldn’t trust the longevity of anything you post on those sites.”

Phone Applications: Made by students

Computing class programs applications for new technology

Graphic by Sarah Costello.

by Marlena Chertock, April 20, 2010

Don’t forget lunch at noon. At 1 p.m. there’s a meeting with your adviser and at 3 p.m. a snack with your rugby team. Is your agenda overfilled and are you over stretched? Soon, there may be an app for that.

iTouch, iPhone, iPad and Android applications offer ease of accessibility and information in a portable device. Students in Elon University’s mobile computing class are creating new apps for group projects.

Senior James Albinson’s app will allow users to organize events. He said it is an extension of Facebook events.

“Meets is going to be an app which allows you to set a meeting place and time,” Albinson said. “Hit(ting) a button can give the Google Maps location. You can invite other users to meetings.”

Brainstorming creative ideas can be the hardest part, computing science professor Joel Hollingsworth said. Albinson said he gets his ideas from two main areas.

“Kind of a mix of what you think people would need and trying to incorporate all the new technologies that are coming out,” he said. “Something that’s user-friendly as well as something that’s useful or fun.”

Students learn Java language for the Android instead of the Mac language.

“We use Java here because it’s an introductory base language,” Hollingsworth said. “As you move through computer science you use other languages. (Java) is a fairly nice language to work with.”

Albinson said the Android format offers a template.

“They give you a lot of widgets, which you can modify yourself or you can create your own widget entirely,” Albinson said. “You’re allowed to take what they’ve already made and extend it.”

Both Apple and Google offer developing kits for creating apps, according to Hollingsworth. Google provides developer kits for the Android.

The marketplace for apps is different for each operating system.

“For Apple you actually have to go through their approval process,” Albinson said. “They don’t like anything that’s vulgar. It’s kind of annoying to a lot of developers because they don’t want to be censored. It filters apps out but stifles creativity.”

But Apple has an edge because it has the marketing down to a science, Albinson said.

Hollingsworth said for the Android market you have to pay $25 to become a developer and then you can upload apps. If they fit with what Google wants to do, it will put them in the marketplace, he said. Albinson said this lets through a lot of apps that do not work, since it is easier to put them up.

Albinson said the Android market is useful for new developers.

“It’s about getting your name out there early on,” he said.

Apps have become extremely popular, especially among the college crowd. Many students have iPhones, Androids or other smartphones.

New technology and portability are reasons Albinson cites for the popularity of apps.

“It’s nice to have everything you need right in your pocket,” he said.

Hollingsworth echoes these reasons. He said the expense is not high, with most apps costing $1.99 and some being free.

“I think people do buy off a whim,” Hollingsworth said. “Impulse buying.”

Hollingsworth said there is a possibility for students to put their apps on the market. But for now students create apps and then use them on their own phones.

He said if students can show the apps they made on their phones during a job interview, that will make them stand out.

“(Students can) pull (their) phone out and say, ‘Here, I wrote this,’” he said. “We’re starting to get employers who are interested in mobile (programming).”

Lack of time and resources keep students from entering their apps in the market, according to Hollingsworth.  Professional projects have multiple developers and artists working together.

“If they were able to get a fully-functional program and have time, which they probably won’t this semester, and make sure everything works perfectly and looks pretty, they can put it on the Android market,” he said. “You can write the best program and if it looks horrible, nobody’s going to buy it.”