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Coding Boot Camps Fast Track Females into Innovation
It starts with how we approach education.
The gender gap is Silicon Valley, where fewer than one in five technical employees are women, is no longer a well-kept secret. But we can't just blame the computing industry for its dearth of female workers. The problem starts in school. As of 2012, the National Science Foundation reported only 18 percent of computer science degrees were obtained by women.
Some institutions have been able to bring women back into the fold and bring those graduate rates up to 38 percent. But these numbers aren't coming from schools; they're coming from coding boot camps. A major draw of these programs is they don't require previous experience — pay your $11,000 fee for a 10-week dive into how to code.
In these programs, most people don't have the same prior experience with computers as someone who may be a CS major in college, which is what makes coding boot camps so attractive to women. Intimidation is a big barrier to entry, which some schools are turning around.
In 1984, 37 percent of computer science degrees were awarded to women. But that was the last year of an upward trend — every year after women in computer science dwindled. Before 1984, women were seen as naturals for the field. It may have had something to do with their typing abilities, so it seemed like a good fit. Somewhere along the way computers became something masculine.
Manoush Zomorodi, host of Note to Self, reported on the case of Harvey Mudd College. The institution went from 10 percent of its females graduating with a degree in CS to 40 percent. How did they do it? Educators started with a better lead, changing the title of an intro course to “Creative Approaches to Problem-Solving in Science and Engineering Using Python.”
Next they organized classes to minimize intimidation by splitting up students into two courses. This helped reduce the “macho effect” — students who already know how to program and dominate class discussion, derailing the class. But she explains, “It's a nuanced game to cut down on the macho without cutting out the well-meaning enthusiasm that causes it.” So, teachers end up pulling exceptional students aside, praising their enthusiasm, but being honest, letting them know their knowledge could be intimidating for other members of the class.
It's an interesting approach; the only thing left to solve are the problems facing women after graduation.
Photo Credit: Matt Cardy / Stringer/ Getty
Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.
Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
SEAL training is the ultimate test of both mental and physical strength.
- The fact that U.S. Navy SEALs endure very rigorous training before entering the field is common knowledge, but just what happens at those facilities is less often discussed. In this video, former SEALs Brent Gleeson, David Goggins, and Eric Greitens (as well as authors Jesse Itzler and Jamie Wheal) talk about how the 18-month program is designed to build elite, disciplined operatives with immense mental toughness and resilience.
- Wheal dives into the cutting-edge technology and science that the navy uses to prepare these individuals. Itzler shares his experience meeting and briefly living with Goggins (who was also an Army Ranger) and the things he learned about pushing past perceived limits.
- Goggins dives into why you should leave your comfort zone, introduces the 40 percent rule, and explains why the biggest battle we all face is the one in our own minds. "Usually whatever's in front of you isn't as big as you make it out to be," says the SEAL turned motivational speaker. "We start to make these very small things enormous because we allow our minds to take control and go away from us. We have to regain control of our mind."
Is focusing solely on body mass index the best way for doctor to frame obesity?
- New guidelines published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal argue that obesity should be defined as a condition that involves high body mass index along with a corresponding physical or mental health condition.
- The guidelines note that classifying obesity by body mass index alone may lead to fat shaming or non-optimal treatments.
- The guidelines offer five steps for reframing the way doctors treat obesity.