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My top link of the day: this absolutely incredible article about a transgender scientist’s experiences. He transitioned from female to male and offers amazingly personal insight into what he believes is a major reason for the dearth of women in scientific fields (active discrimination). I found the concluding sentence to be so telling: “People who do not know I am transgendered treat me with much more respect,” he says. “I can even complete a whole sentence without being interrupted by a man.” I think even those of us that aren’t in the sciences are familiar with that particular experience.

I found this blog post highlighting the author’s disagreements with Diane Ravitch on online education and technology in education pretty interesting, because unlike him (pretty sure it’s a dude) and most of the people commenting, I am totally with her. I really don’t feel like, using the quotes given, you could call her “anti-technology.” Honestly, from all the reading on this particular subject I’ve done lately, I think that anyone that’s not 100% on the bandwagon is at risk of being branded anti-technology, which isn’t accurate and isn’t fair. I feel like those of us in the “anti” camp are really in the “let’s assess where the use of technology will actually help the students in a productive way and how to incorporate it in such a way that the entire curriculum doesn’t turn into Math Blasters on an iPad” camp… But that’s not as catchy as equating us with a bunch of Luddites.

One of the hottest topics in technology in education is BYOD–Bring Your Own Device. This article asks if schools should really embrace this idea, so I was hoping for a slightly more balanced response than the one given. They only lightly touched on the pitfalls–affordability for some students, for example–without actually explaining what was going to be done about them. School rules about bullying and harassment don’t stop bullying and harassment, so I think their offhand comment about school policies on technology is extremely short-sighed. I also wish they had explained how the schools that have implemented BYOD are addressing the needs of students that DON’T have a smartphone or an iPad or a Kindle to bring to school with them (although this article, “10 Things In School That Should Be Obsolete,” claims that students have access to this technology regardless of income bracket, which just sounds insanely ignorant. Interesting article in general though, even though I don’t agree with every point.). I’m deeply disappointed with the quality of discussion on this topic that I’ve seen online so far.

This article about Mitt Romney and the “war on women” isn’t all-the-way real (the quote, specifically), but don’t you get the feeling that it’s much closer to the truth than is comfortable? Lest you think moving out of the country will solve your problems, think again. Turns out plenty of men in other countries are disgusting pigs too.

Since women in the workplace has been such a hot topic lately, I am super interested in reading Shortchanged, by Mariko Chang, and the discussion of why the wealth (not pay) gap between men and women persists, as well as possible solutions.

In yet another entry (this link brought to you by Rae) into the “Comedy vs. Feminism” melee, this is an excellent piece that points out that who’s “right” in this case isn’t really the point. While Tosh may have the legal right to say what he said (and pretty much anything else), that does not diminish the right of other people to be offended, to complain, to criticize, and to boycott.

On the other hand, this article highlights the still-urgent need to stand up for rape survivors and stop perpetuating rape culture. Apparently, rapes happen because there’s not enough laws about what women are allowed to wear. I don’t know how people making this argument don’t see that it’s also offensive to basically paint all men with the “sex-crazed immoral lunatic” brush while they’re trying to control women, but whatever. Women in countries with draconian dress codes still get raped and otherwise sexually violated, so I really don’t think our clothes are the problem here.

In all this newly discovered feminist consciousness, people are paying more attention to and criticizing women’s magazines. This post offers a thoughtful defense of that particular form of media, without ignoring the legitimate problems of the “women’s interest” section of the magazine rack.

Also in media news, so glad that what we already know is being pointed out here: cleaning products (and parenting-related things) are still almost exclusively marketed to women, and we still do most of the chores, regardless of outside commitments. Let me tell you, my rage knew no bounds when I saw this one ad (a while ago) of a dad playing with his two kids in the living room…while the mother cheerfully Swiffered the floor. Seriously? SERIOUSLY?!

Moving on to more political things, I am not sure what to say about the idea that rich people do deserve their wealth, if they worked hard, but not if they obtained through political machinations, gaming the system, etc. When people talk about how the infrastructure contributes to the success of entrepreneurs, they aren’t saying that wealthy people should have to give up all of their money. They are saying that your success, while admirable, does not entitle you to then screw over the society that made it possible for you to be where you are. Plenty of wealthy people, while they may have worked hard, are where they are because of luck. One company succeeds while another one doesn’t–show me the direct evidence that it’s because the founder of one company was super-hardworking and busy while the head of the failed company was secretly a lazy schmuck. What kind of logic is that? I also think that the author’s talk of focusing on those that game the system is somewhat fatuous; who is going to be the arbiter of that? For that matter, people do try to focus on those who game the system and are routinely subverted or ignored. Argh.

As always, you are more than welcome to leave thoughts in the comments.

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