Women's History Month - Elizabeth Blackwell

The first woman to receive a medical degree in the US.

Queen Ranavalona III of Madagascar

The last Ruler of Madagascar.

She's Crafty - Microscopic Edition!

Some really cool science inspired crafts!

Happy Birthday - Septima Poinsette Clark

The "Queen Mother" or "Grandmother of the American Civil Rights Movement."

Friday, October 2, 2015

Patreon News

Hello all. I'm sorry I have to write this post in the first place. I'd much rather write about some kickass women doing something awesome. But I think it's important to keep you all abreast of what's going on with Patreon and how it might possibly relate to you.

I want to let you all know that I've been paying very close attention to the recent news that Patreon has been hacked. So far, the only things they've acknowledged as having been compromised were "registered names, email addresses, posts, and some shipping addresses."

This from the message I received from Patreon CEO and Co-founder Jack Conte:
At this point, I don't think it's anything serious enough to warrant cancelling my Patreon account. Although I totally support you if you decide to. But I do see this as another reminder to continue practicing "Safe Internetting."
  • Make your passwords harder to guess. Instead of one word, use a lyric from a song or line from a poem and pick one letter from each word. Include non-letter characters for some to make it that much more challenging.
  • Change your passwords regularly. And never, ever share it with anyone. Even if that person claims they're from the place you're trying to log in to.
  • If you're going to share your accounts and password (look, I know it happens. I share my Netflix with friends and family), make sure that password is in absolutely no way similar to your other passwords.
  • Use two-step authentication whenever possible. 
  • Consider using an encryption database like KeePass or KyPass.
  • Check your bank and credit card statements every month, if not more often. Report any discrepancies immediately.
I will continue to monitor the news, and if I hear anything that might change my opinion on this matter, I will certainly let you all know as well. If you have any questions or concerns you'd like for me to address, please leave a comment below, or reach out to me on social media.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

She's a Genius - The Women of the 2015 MacArthur Foundation Fellows Program

The Class of 2015 MacArthur Fellows has been announced and, again, it's an exclusive club of brilliant minds -- scientists, artists, and thinkers -- who are challenging what we already know and leading us in new directions. This program is nicknamed the "Genius Grant" for good reason: each recipient is being honored for their ability to think in a completely new way, applying their particular brand of "genius" to whatever passion they pursue.
"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." Arthur Schopenhauer
This year nine remarkable women are being recognized for their efforts to share new discoveries, show us new ways of interacting, and bring us closer to the truth about what it is to be human.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Kickstart This! The A to Z Guide to Jobs for Girls

I've been meaning to post about this for a while, but have been super busy with other stuff and let it slip. And that's really too bad, because I very much love this project and want to see it succeed.

The A to Z Guide to Jobs for Girls ABC Board Book, by Charles Dowd is a fantastic book featuring his adorable illustrations showing girls doing all kinds of amazing jobs. It's got kung fu champions and jackhammer operators and astronauts.

You may already know Charles C. Dowd from his other awesomely geeky projects such as Lilith Dark and Kidthulhu. Both are excellent and worth reading. For this new project, he teamed up with his kids to create a book showing little girls doing things that might not be traditionally thought of as "for girls."

I was able to chat with Charles about this project and am happy to share some of his comments with you all, in the hope that it will encourage you to back this project. What may have started out as a kind of ironic project aimed more at older geeks has instead turned into a book with a wide appeal. Of course, with few little kids in my world right now, I don't generally buy many board books, but you can be certain this one will be on my coffee table. But it's also an excellent board book in its own right, and deserves a place on the bookshelves of even the tiniest little book-chewer... er... reader.

SRPS: What was your inspiration for creating The A to Z Guide to Jobs for Girls?

CD: Well, I was discussing careers with my son who's sixteen now and already taking college credit courses in high school, and my daughter got into the conversation with us, and inevitably asked why boys can have some jobs that girls can't have. That question got my mind racing, and we talked about traditional gender roles at home and at work, and how it's silly to think that girls can't do certain things solely based on gender. So being an illustrator, I decided to make a sort of ironically gendered book for girls about careers. It started out as a side project but quickly turned into a whole thing!

SRPS: I love seeing your daughter in the video! How awesome was it to work with your kids on this project?

CD: It was great! They each helped me brainstorm the careers featured. My son helped out with the coloring process, and my daughter helped by narrating and starring in the campaign video. She's going to be a YouTube star one day very soon!

SRPS: How did you come up with an entry for each letter of the alphabet? Or, more accurately, how'd you pare it down to just one for each letter?

CD: Originally we were throwing out some really wild ideas like 'N is for Ninja' and 'E is for Evil Villain,' but as the project progressed I thought it might be better to stick with actual attainable professions. The other criteria was that it had to be fun to draw, so we stayed away from less visually exciting things. In order for kids to want to read it we tried to make the art fun and memorable.

We also made it a point to feature more than a few careers that are traditionally or stereotypically considered inappropriate for women, like Chef. That one always perplexed me, because traditionally, women stayed at home and did all of the cooking, but professionally men would be considered the best cooks. I mean, that's just crazy to me! In my mind that's a perfect example of what we're trying to call out with this book.

SRPS: You've had several Kickstarter projects in the past. Have you noticed any differences in how this one has gone? What has been the reception you've received so far?

CD: The reception so far has been great! The people that have supported the book have been very enthusiastic. I don't think I've ever had a project shared as widely as this one, so that's a great feeling. For whatever reason we haven't received much if any media support, so as a result we're kind of limping towards the finish, but I'm not ready to throw in the towel quite yet.

I did receive some nasty-grams when we first launched the campaign from some folks who disagree with the radical idea that women can do things, but I figure if I get hate mail it just means I'm onto something good. We chose Quarterback for Q, and some people just couldn't handle that one!

SRPS: Yes. Exactly! In this world, that kind of hate mail often means you're doing something right! I love that it's a board book. What was the inspiration for that decision?

CD: I made it an alphabet board book for toddlers so that kids could learn from the get-go that it's OK for girls to want to do things, even things that aren't traditionally considered "girl-things." I feel like biases are taught to children from a very young age, deliberately or otherwise, so I wanted this book to act as sort of a balance to that.

SRPS: What do you hope readers young and old will get out of The A to Z Guide to Jobs for Girls?

CD: I want them to learn right off the bat that regardless of gender, if a person has the drive, determination and the talent, they can pretty much pursue any career path they choose. Telling someone "You can't do that because you're a girl" is a crummy thing to say, and isn't based in anything but outdated attitudes about gender.

I couldn't agree more. I hope you'll all check it out and consider backing this project. There's less than a week left to help make this book a reality. Go get it!

If you like the work I do here at Self-Rescuing Princess Society,
please check out my Patreon.

You may also be interested in:

Samantha Smith, Cold War Princess
In 1982, the US and USSR were still quite deep in the cold war. It may be hard to remember now, but we were still worried about nuclear attacks. Not in the naive way the folks in the 50s and 60s were ducking under desks or building bunkers. By the late-70s and early-80s, we were pretty much aware that any nuclear attack would be the end of civilization as we know it, and survival was unlikely.

In case you need a reminder... you are amazing!
I just love this poem. I revisit it whenever I'm feeling a down or frustrated or a little powerless. You are amazing. As.you.are. Stronger than you know. More beautiful than you think. Worthier than you believe. More loved that you can ever imagine. Passionate about making a difference. Fiery when protecting those you love. Learning. Growing.
Happy Birthday - Geraldine Doyle
Today would have been the 90th birthday of Geraldine Hoff Doyle. If you don't know who she was, don't feel too bad. I only heard of her recently myself. If she looks familiar, it's because she was very likely the model for the "We Can Do It!" poster. But little information is available about her life.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Charlotte Moore Sitterly - Astrophysicist

Charlotte Moore Sitterly (September 24, 1898 – March 3, 1990)

This humble daughter of Quaker teachers went on to become one of the most important researchers in astronomy, with her works continuing to benefit science even now.

As a student at Swathmore College, she took a wide range of classes to expose herself to as much knowledge as possible. When it came time to pick a major, though, she went with the department in which she'd taken the most classes, which was Mathematics. And it's lucky for us that she did.

Upon graduation, her adviser recommended she apply to become a "mathematics computer" for astronomer Henry Norris Russell at the Princeton University Observatory. Whether her adviser knew how perfect a match this was or not is unknown, but history has proven that it was. She had only taken an introductory course in astronomy at Swathmore, but she was able to get up to speed very quickly working with Dr. Russell, a fast-thinking astrophysicist. Initially, her job was to carry out the mathematical calculations needed for his research, but soon she was also using the equipment to make readings.

Music Break - Flint Eastwood

I just heard this new song by Flint Eastwood for the first time earlier this week, and it has pretty much got me enthralled. It's beautiful and touching and gives me chills every time I listen to it.

And I've listened to it a dozen times or more.

It's haunting, but in a bittersweet way. Jax's voice is perfectly ethereal and sweet. And the acoustics are amazing. It turns out that it was recorded in a church. According to her website, the song is based on the final words her mother had for her. In fact, the whole EP is the creative product of her dealing with her mother's death.
"As the listener makes their way through the EP, they experience Jax making her way through her mother's illness and passing, railing against it, dealing with the aftermath associated with such a loss, eventually accepting it, and using it as a driving force to continue to create."
This sense of learning to carry on comes through loud and clear in "Find What You're Looking For." Her mother's words of advice for living a productive and happy life are inspirational in themselves. But to have turned them into a song that she can share with others, to share the burden of the pain of loss as well as the gift of love, that is what makes this song so beautiful. And, I'll wager the entire album Small Victories follows in the same vein.
"Small Victories comes from the idea that doing anything creative in life takes a lot of persistence, struggle, and hustle. It's easy to expect that the spoils will come easily and be immediately fruitful. But if you focus on the little things, the 'small victories,' you realize that it's those things that are the most rewarding. That's what keeps me going."

Jerilyn Jordan's review on AudioFemme is what brought it to my attention. If you love music and want to support women who make music or write about music, I highly recommend following their blog.

If you like the work I do here at Self-Rescuing Princess Society,
please check out my Patreon.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Google Science Fair Winner Olivia Hallisey!

Congratulations to Olivia Hallisey, the Grand Prize winner in the 2015 Google Science Fair!

Her project was an amazingly simple invention that will save countless lives around the world -- an Ebola Assay Card that allows fast detection of Ebola in remote locations, and can carry life-saving antibodies to the right places as quickly as possible. Her simple silk protein assay sets up in 30 minutes, costs less than $25, and can go for a week without refrigeration.

Winning the Grand Prize $50,000 scholarship will give her the financial support needed to make her card a multi-disease diagnostic assay, meaning it can save even more lives!

Brava Olivia! I can't wait to see what you do next!

If you like the work I do here at Self-Rescuing Princess Society,
please consider donating to my Patreon.

You may also be interested in:

Science Fair Rock Star - Lauren Rojas
Twelve year old Lauren Rojas's science project for school wasn't your typical science fair fare. Instead of building the ubiquitous baking soda volcano, she wanted to test the effects of altitude on air pressure and temperature. So she built a weather balloon, attached several cameras to record the view, and a high altitude computer to track the changes in temperature, air pressure and altitude.

Samantha Smith, Cold War Princess
In 1982, the US and USSR were still quite deep in the cold war. It may be hard to remember now, but we were still worried about nuclear attacks. Not in the naive way the folks in the 50s and 60s were ducking under desks or building bunkers. By the late-70s and early-80s, we were pretty much aware that any nuclear attack would be the end of civilization as we know it, and survival was unlikely.

Happy Birthday - Dr. Dorrit Hoffleit
During World War II, she went to work at the Aberdeen Proving Ground ballistics laboratory in Maryland. Not unlike many women working for the war effort, she was forced to take a position below her status while she watched men who had less experience take higher level jobs. Frustrated that women weren't getting the training they needed and the promotions they deserved...