How Kate Middleton’s Wedding Gown Demonstrates Wikipedia’s Woman Problem

How Kate Middleton’s Wedding Gown Demonstrates Wikipedia’s Woman Problem - Slate

Photo by CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images

“The day of the royal wedding, a Wikipedia article about the dress was flagged for deletion. This prompted an energetic debate, as you can see on the dress’s “article for deletion” page. “ ‘Wedding dress of…’ as an article in an encyclopaedia? Exactly the sort of thing that made me all but quit as an active user on this project,” one user complained. “This is frankly trivial, and surely isn’t notable enough to be on wikipedia,” argued another. It wasn’t only men who wanted the article nixed. On the article’s Talk page(where editors debate changes), a female user wrote: “LOL, my thoughts exactly. Will there be an article on her shoes, too?”

Several male users came out in support of the Middleton dress article—including Wales. The day after the wedding, Wales weighed in, contending that they should keep the article because of the dress’ presumable long-term effect on fashion. (In his comments, he drew the same parallel to Linux distributions. He likes that comparison a lot.) Furthermore, he said, they should have items on other famous dresses as well.” (Torie Bosch, Slate)

ACM Awards Judea Pearl the Turing Award for Work On Artificial Intelligence

ACM Awards Judea Pearl the Turing Award for Work On Artificial Intelligence - PCMag.com

Photo: PCMag.com

“ACM Executive Director John White told me that ‘Pearl’s research was instrumental in moving machine-based reasoning from the rules-bound expert systems of the 1980s to a calculus that incorporates uncertainty and probabilistic models.’ In other words, he has figured out methods for trying to draw the best conclusion, even when there is a degree of uncertainty. It can be applied when trying to answer questions from a large amount of unstructured information, or trying to figure out what someone has said in languages that have lots of similar-sounding words—all things we do a lot today. (Michael J. Miller, PCMag.com)

Computer scientist sees artistic side to father of computer

Computer scientist sees artistic side to father of computer - UChicago News

Photo: UChicago

“Turing is remembered for developing concepts that made modern computers possible, and for leading complex military decoding efforts that proved critical in World War II. But Soare argues that Turing’s landmark 1936 paper on computability theory contains beauty as well as scientific breakthroughs. He compares the concepts in that paper to Michelangelo’s statue, David. ‘Michelangelo and Turing both completely transcended conventional approaches. They created something completely new from their own visions, something which went far beyond the achievements of their contemporaries,’ Soare writes.” (Steve Koppes, UChicago News)

Washington Post article on the invention of email stirs debate

V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai: Inventor of e-mail honored by Smithsonian - Washington Post

Photo: Donna Coveney

The Washington Post posted this note during the debate: “Clarification: A number of readers have accurately pointed out that electronic messaging predates V. A. Shiva Ayyadurai’s work in 1978. However, Ayyadurai holds the copyright to the computer program called“email,” establishing him as the creator of the ‘computer program for [an] electronic mail system’ with that name, according to the U.S. Copyright Office.”

It Started Digital Wheels Turning

It Started Digital Wheels Turning - New York Times

Science Museum Archive/Science & Society Picture Library

“What it may do, though, is answer a question that has tantalized historians for decades: Did an eccentric mathematician named Charles Babbage conceive of the first programmable computer in the 1830s, a hundred years before the idea was put forth in its modern form by Alan Turing?” (John Markoff, NYTimes.com)

The Dilemma of Being a Cyborg

The Dilemma of Being a Cyborg - New York Times

Image: Tom Gauld

“Foer said, ‘What makes things memorable is that they are meaningful, significant, colorful.’ Data is weightless and characterless and takes up very little space. The more of it we save, the more we lose the ability to differentiate it, to assign significance and meaning.

I’m pretty sure, for instance, that my husband still doesn’t know my phone number, which he stored on his phone on the day we met, whereas I remember his because he wrote it down for me on a tiny scrap of paper that I pinned to my bulletin board, where it gradually accrued meaning. In my mind, my husband’s phone number is inextricable from his handwriting, and it lives on a jagged-edged, ephemeral scrap that resurfaces every once in a while, usually when I’m looking for something else.” (Carina Chocano, NYTimes.com)