Her

Spike Jonzes’ new film “Her” stars Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore, a lonely write who falls in love with a voice. The voice is called Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), and lives in his computer. Basically, they fall in love with each other. It’s the kind of co-dependency we all have with our phones, laptops, iPads etc.

I find it really interesting that every write up I’ve read about this movie calls it “creepy” and talks about it being our future. I think the only futuristic part of this film are the questions Samantha asks. She’s just further advanced then Siri but I bet my dependency on Siri is the same as Theodore’s dependence on Samantha.

 

Watch the trailer and tell me how you feel about this film and about your dependence on technology in the comments or on our Facebook page—I’m really interested to hear your thoughts.



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STEM is the New Sexy

photo of stem pictures

STEM: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These four categories go together like peanut butter and jelly, throw women into the mix and you’ve got peanut butter, jelly, and banana. Sounds a bit weird but it’s really delicious…just give it a try.  I fancy myself a female in STEM, I don’t technically get paid for it, but the majority of my free time is spent researching and reading about science and technology. When Twitter started trending #overlyhonestmethods I thought I died and went to heaven, a bunch of researchers and scientists tweeting about funny things in the lab? What a win.

I find STEM extremely interest but the fact is I’m a rare breed: Among wealthy nations, the United States ranked 23rd in science and 31st in math in standardized tests. Our high-school seniors competed poorly in advanced math and physics. We rank 27th in college graduates with degrees in science and math. That’s the fact. No wonder we’re so behind in the times.

Rebecca Searles and Brittany Binowski have started a STEM mentorship program in the hopes of getting girls interested in STEM.  Brinowski also asked for people to tweet what they think it means to be “a woman in STEM” here’s a taste:

Usually society doesn’t think of women as scientists. The women in STEM are doing a good thing to inspire young women to help them with achieving their goals.
Katya, 15

 

Women in STEM are pioneers. They are trekking in uncharted waters and loving what they do. They go against the grain and emerging just as successful as they gender counterparts. They are my role models.
Som, 17

 

I know that there are not a lot of women in STEM fields; I think those that are are probably more confident than average, as most girls tend to doubt their mathematical abilities. 
Hannah, 16

 

Women in STEM are people who are unafraid of challenges and want a life of innovation.
Isabella, 18

 

When there’s a lack of women, there’s a lack of female input, and a chance that as a country, we’re not performing at our highest potential.
Queenie, 18

 

Perceptions? A woman in STEM is like a man in STEM except the woman identifies as female while the man identifies as male. 
Sophia, 15

How exciting is that? A bunch of teenage girls talking about math and science? It’s oh-so-cool to pretend to be a geek now-a-days but ask one of these hipster-looking-Buddy-Holly-glasses-wearing-I-swear-I-am-a-geek-cause-I-watch-big-bang-theory-and-want-to-be-revleant jerks to explain the big bang theory or a HADRON collider and watch their eyes glaze over. Heck, ask them what JPL is. My money is on the fact that they don’t know. I don’t want fake geeks, I want real geeks. I don’t want you wearing glasses ‘cause you think it’s cute, wear them because your eyes get tired from reading too much data!

We need to step up in this country when it comes to STEM. We’re a celebrity culture and I think that “playing pretend” has leaked into every aspect of our world. Don’t pretend to be smart—be smart. Don’t pretend to be interesting—be interesting. You can still be a real geek and real cool, just ask this guy:



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Get It To The Geek (Or Figure It Out Yourself)

I recently got a new one-terrabyte external hard drive. I already have one, and my computer’s hard drive is already that size, so I now have three terrabytes of disk space. It will never be enough.

After discovering that, for some reason, my computer was not really recognizing that this new external was connected to it, I decided to hold off for a week until a friend of mine could come and visit and I could ask him to take a look at it.

It’s not that I’m not computer-savvy. I am. My formal computer education was very basic-level computer education in elementary school (my favorite part of which was playing The Logical Journey Of The Zoombinis). This was in the nineties. I then had a typing class in seventh grade, which was helpful . . . although, to be honest, my typing became a lot faster in eighth grade when I started using instant messenger and also began doing my non-school writing on the computer. But, like many Millennials, particularly those of us born in the eighties (in my case, the late eighties), most of my knowledge of computers is self-taught. I consider myself competent with computers. I can hook them up, open them up to clean them, find files, etc. In some circles, I would be considered computer-illiterate, as I am not, say, a programmer. Compared to my mother, who, when she last had me look at her laptop, had two recycling bin icons on her very cluttered desktop, I am one of those unrealistically competent hackers in movies and on television* who can access anything on any computer.

Why did I wait to have my friend look at it before I did? Because he knows more about computers than I do. I’m not ignorant about them, but he is more likely to know something than I am. Instead of solving this particular problem for myself, which would have taken maybe fifteen minutes of trial-and-error (the solution being very simple), I waited a week for a friend of mine to look at it because I just felt …

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Science! Science Fiction That Stopped Being Fiction In 2012

Have you guys seen this list of 27 things that made the transition from science fiction to reality in 2012? I mean, they aren’t part of everyday reality just yet. But that’s okay. Some of these were big news for everyone (James Cameron’s adventure to the ocean depths, the discovery of the Higgs boson), but I had not heard about a few of these.

The short version of the list? Mentally controlling a robotic arm, robots crossing an obstacle course, silk that is stronger than steel, DNA photographed, invisibility cloaks, spray-on skin, reaching the depths of the ocean, stem cells may extend human life significantly (it worked on mice), 3D printer prints a house, legalized self-driving cars (in a few states; they’re just thinking ahead, really), Voyager I leaves the solar system, a human mandible was printed and given to a patient (as in, it’s part of his body and it works, now), rogue planet found floating through space, monkeys created from more than one embryo, artificial leaves that generate electricity, the Higgs boson discovered, inexpensive solar panels, diamond planet, optical implant to restore sight, Wales recorded the DNA of every flowering plant in Wales, an unmanned commercial flight docked with the International Space-Station, flexible glass, robotic exoskeletons (for NASA), human brain’s practical functions are observed, a planet with four suns, and Microsoft patented real-world virtual reality for games.

So, that’s just the list. You should really read the actual list and look at the pictures (and videos) and read the descriptions. So worth it.

But, for me, there were some definitely highlights. Um, stem cells dramatically extending human life. Obviously, “dramatically extending” is not the same thing as immortality. But, if this treatment is available and affordable within, say, three decades, then that gives me a very good chance of living long enough to, well, never die. This treatment does not confer immortality, but we all know that it’s …4

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