A law passed after the Exxon Valdez oil spill requires the government to assess the biological damage from big spills so fines can be fixed and damage paid for. The National Academy of Sciences has a report describing the methods and metrics of determining the "ecosystem services" that have been lost due to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The new movie J. Edgar is directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover who headed the FBI for 48 years. Hoover championed scientific crime fighting in general and the use of fingerprints in particular.
The rating agency Standard and Poor's sent out an alert downgrading France's debt on Thursday. It turned out to be a false alarm, but it took nearly two hours for S&P to clarify that. S&P says it's investigating the mistake.
Women attend a talk on Wednesday at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Portland, Ore. The conference offers mentoring and recruiting for women in technology fields.
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Anita Borg received a Ph.D. in computer science from New York University in 1987 – a rare feat at the time. Realizing how few women were in the industry, Borg created Systers, a community email discussion group for women in computing. In 1997 she founded the Institute for Women and Technology, which was later renamed in her honor.
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Meg Whitman joined eBay as its CEO in 1998, when the company had approximately 30 employees. Two years later, she became the first female billionaire in the Internet industry. She stepped down in 2008 after expanding the company to more than 15,000 employees, and in September 2011 she was named the new CEO of Hewlett-Packard.
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Although Silicon Valley faces challenges in recruiting more female employees, woman have played vital roles throughout the history of computing. Augusta Ada Byron King, daughter of the poet Lord Byron, assisted Charles Babbage in the 1840s with his description of the Analytical Engine, the original design for a computing machine. Her notes on the theoretical machine are thought to be an early model for software, over 100 years before it became a reality.
This week thousands of women gathered in Portland, Ore., for the Grace Hopper Celebration, the world's largest technical conference for women and computing. High-tech companies are hiring, but there aren't nearly enough women to meet the demand.
Kate Schmalzried, a graduate student at Stanford, recalls one of her very first classes at the university — Computer Science 106A.
"That was really a good introduction to women in tech — there weren't many women in the class," she says, chuckling. "I distinctly remember being the only girl in my section."