One of the physicists who helped find the Higgs boson, Elina Berglund, has spent the past three years working on something completely different - a fertility app that tells women when they’re fertile or not.
It’s not the first fertility app out there, but Berglund’s app works so well that it’s been shown to help women avoid pregnancy with 99.5 percent reliability - an efficacy that puts it right up there with the pill and condoms.
Best of all, the app doesn’t have any side effects, and just requires women to input their temperature daily to map their fertility throughout the month.
Back in 2012, Berglund was working at CERN on the Large Hadron Collider experiment to find the famous Higgs boson. But after the discovery of the particle, she felt it was time to work on something completely different.
“I wanted to give my body a break from the pill,” she told Daniela Walker from Wired, “but I couldn’t find any good forms of natural birth control, so I wrote an algorithm for myself.”
The resulting app is called Natural Cycles, and so far, it’s had pretty promising results.
Omg as a girl who can’t use hormonal birth control. This is amazing
#women in stem
After Darsh’s photo was used in an Islamophobic “joke,” the internet rallied around him in love and respect. His response on MSNBC is the definition of poise and rising above the hate.
Gabriella Coleman, the anthropologist whose first book, Coding Freedom, explained hacking culture better than any book before or since; and whose second book, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy, told the inside story of Anonymous with technical and social brilliance, appeared on the Theory of Everything podcast (MP3) to discuss the ways that free software hackers and the more business-friendly open source world have fought, reconciled and fought again.
As with all of Coleman’s expositions, this interview gets to the human, ethical core of the technical discussion, fusing the technological and the anthropological in a way that makes it clear that they should never really be discussed separately from one another.
“Linguists who study endangered languages have identified a few early warning signs,” writes Mayyasi. “One is when a prominent language like English or French replaces a native language for a specific function like literature or commerce. Another is when a native language is seen as dated by younger generations.”
In the 2013 paper Digital Language Death, researcher András Kornai investigated the dangers to existing languages caused by a move to the digital realm, by applying the same methods of “language vitality assessment” that are used for regular languages. At the end, Kornai concludes that, at best, only 5% of the world’s languages are “digitally ascending.” That is, 95% of languages are not vital, thriving, or even borderline viable online.
The problems are complex. For instance, even if a language has a good online presence, it doesn’t mean that it has a community that uses it in any meaningful way (Kornai cites Klingon as an example of this). Also, thanks to the way content hangs around online forever, a language can still exist and be dead at the same time. “Wikipedia is a good place for digitally minded speakers to congregate,” writes Kornai, “but the natural outcome of these efforts is a heritage project, not a live community.”
Black Scientists in the Movies
Octavia Spencer plays Mathematician Dorothy Vaughan in the film Hidden Figures, that comes out Jan 17 2016. Who was Dorothy Vaughan?
Full Name:Dorothy Johnson Vaughan
Birthdate:September 20, 1910
Birthplace:Kansas City, MO
Education:BA, Mathematics, Wilberforce University 1929
Center:Langley Research Center
Work Dates:1943 - 1971
Position(s):Computer; Section Head, West Area Computers; Mathematician, ACD
Group(s):West Computers; ACD Specialties:Flight paths; Scout Project; FORTRAN programming
Dorothy Vaughan came to the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in 1943, during the height of World War II, leaving her position as the math teacher at Robert Russa Moton High School in Farmville, VA to take what she believed would be a temporary war job. Two years after President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802 into law, prohibiting racial, religious and ethnic discrimination in the country’s defense industry, the laboratory began hiring black women to meet the skyrocketing demand for processing aeronautical research data. Urgency and twenty-four hour shifts prevailed– as did Jim Crow laws which required newly-hired “colored” mathematicians to work separately from their white female counterparts. Dorothy Vaughan was assigned to the segregated “West Area Computing” unit, an all-black group of female mathematicians, who were originally required to use separate dining and bathroom facilities. Over time, both individually and as a group, the West Computers distinguished themselves with contributions to virtually every area of research at Langley. MORE