Cerebrogenesis (10)

Haven't had time to read lately, but here are a couple of links for this (past several) week's installment of Cerebrogenesis.

  • Robot Woman — various news sources reported last week that a group of scientists had created a robot modeled after a human woman, specifically a Chinese woman. It responds to nearly 1,000 vocal commands delivered in Mandarin and is programmed to enjoy wearing jewelry and beautiful evening gowns (this video shows her in a red “poofy” dress). Is it just me or is that eerily Stepford wife-ish? I mean, okay, a great leap forward in cutting-edge robotics, but leave it to a team of male scientists to build a female robot whose personality is a cliche of womanhood.
  • Women in the Sciences: the NY Times reports about a study focusing on the relatve dearth of women in science and engineering. In my opinion, the practice of tenureship, while good for intellectual freedom, can also foster an old boy's network that makes it more resistant to change than most social institutions. That being said, I saw a statistic yesterday that said that last year, I was 1 of 265 Asian American graduate students at my school — making us a decimal point or two above 1% of the graduate population. The point? Higher education is consistently closed to most people claiming any kind of differing background.
  • Allen used “N-word” in College, a Salon article about Allen and his racist tendancies while he was in college. Salon interviewed several of Allen's old football teammates and three reported recollections of Allen as a racist, while the rest either didn't know him well enough or thought him “one of the boys”. One teammate, Dr. Ken Shelton, has the most vivid memories of Allen as a racist, saying:

    “Allen said he came to Virginia because he wanted to play football in a place where 'blacks knew their place'… [h]e used the N-word on a regular basis back then.”

    Shelton also recounts a hunting trip he went on with Allen and other teammates in which Shelton claims Allen asked where the local Black families lived, then drove the group over and stuffed a dead deer head in the Black family's mailbox.

    Allen recently called himself the “champion of minorities” after disclosing his Jewish heritage; personally, I find it hard to believe that anyone who used to laud the Confederate Army and keep a noose in his office could ever have my best interests in mind.

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