We got to do better than this…

I know its a first world problem but theres an issue with microphones while doing talks on stage. The problem I have is the head mics which are always too small and therefore squeeze around my larger skull. Or if they are loosen, then tend to slip and make things awkward.

Skin coloured mics right & wrongs

But the big problem I have with them is they are always pink. I get the idea that pink head mics are meant to blend in with speakers skin tones. Except my skin is not pink, so it always looks super weird on top of uncomfortable.

Skin coloured mics right & wrongs

Hummmm, looks good right? Not at all! Looks like my head is partly cut from my body?

Skin coloured mics right & wrongs

Thankfully some conferences get this right by using clip on radio mics but I also know this is a big problem for some women who sometimes don’t have anywhere to clip the mic or hold the radio unit. Some are happier with a handheld mic too. To be honest I don’t mind holding a mic but have experienced the issues of using a handheld while operating a clicker at the same time. Luckily I’m quite Ambidextrous.

I would suggest options for the diversity of your speakers. A headset mic, radio mic and a handheld mic as choices… I know it seems like a lot of work but at the very least a radio mic and handheld mic? Forcing one type of mic on all your speakers will not get the best out of them.

There are a few conferences which have given me the choice thankfully… maybe the rest will follow suit if we complain more.

Intersectional Feminism…

Don't forget white women voted for Trump

I can’t really believe I missed this term and thoughts around this photo.

Washington Post

New York Tines

I first heard about the term when listening to the podcast what mom never told you.

There is a great interview with the woman in the picture

TR: Why did you decide to create the sign “White Women Voted for Trump”?

AP: We need to be really honest about why we’re here. There was a sense for me of being at the march and in community with folks that were wanting to resist this horrifying reality, but also not wanting folks to get complacent.

TR: How did people respond to you and your sign?

AP: Most were saying, “Not this white woman,” or “No one I know!” I’d say, “[Fifty-three percent] of white women voted for Trump. That means someone you know, someone who is in close community with you, voted for Trump. You need to organize your people.” And some people said, “Oh, I’m so ashamed.” Don’t be ashamed; organize your people.

That’s why the photo was such a great moment to capture, because it tells the story of white women in this moment wanting to just show up in a very superficial way and not wanting to do the hard work of making change, of challenging their own privilege. You’re here protesting, but don’t forget: The folks that you live with every single day—and probably some of the women that decided to come to the march—voted for Trump, made the decision to vote against self-interests to maintain their white supremacist way of life.

Its something I’ve thought a lot about, especially when thinking about diversity and inclusion. Its one of the things which has bugged me when thinking about the numerous women in tech events. Not taking anything away from them but if all the women are white, middle class and went to the same university – then we got a long way to go.

Maybe it also starts to explain why a lot of the women (of colour if thats what you prefer) I talk to are unsure about the term feminist?

Rather than weight in to this topic with limited insight, I thought I’d share some things I saw and heard.

Want to Learn More about Intersectional Feminism? Watch Shows created by Black Women

Why feminism can’t ignore race

100 Women 2016: Is feminism just for white women?

A split in sisterhood

Your telling me theres no need for feminism?

The fact most males are paid way beyond females is terrible, but hardly surprising.  The gap is pretty vast. This is part of the reason why I find it extremely hard when women, have said to me in past, theres no real need for feminism anymore. Very difficult indeed!

On hearing the story break, I wondered if Jodie Whittaker will earn the same kind of money as previous male doctor whos?

There was also another story which no one really picked up on, but it was noticed by a few and later acknowledge by the BBC.

Trade union Equity said in a statement: “The apparent pay gaps in gender and for those from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background are troubling.”

There is also a gap between the pay for white stars and those from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background.

George Alagiah, Jason Mohammad and Trevor Nelson are the highest paid BAME presenters, each receiving between £250,000 and £300,000.

The highest-paid female star with a BAME background is BBC news presenter Mishal Husain, who earned between £200,000 and £250,000.

It’s hot out here being so geeky

Jeremy

I do like a little Catfish, its one of my guilty pleasures and perfect for when I’m cooking in the Kitchen.

However Episode 11 of season 6 (catfish s6x11) stood out for me

Colleen met Tony online and fell madly in love. Though they’ve never met, Tony proposed to Colleen over the phone and she accepted. Now, Nev and Max help her finally face the truth to reveal the mystery man she’s engaged to.
I’m going to spoil the episode, so if you want to be unspoiled stop now.
Tony is the Catfish and pretends to be a white geeky guy to Colleen. Shes suspicious calls in the Nev & Max to check him out. They find out that he’s actually this geeky black guy who has been pretending to be a white geeky guy. Almost everything else is true and when they finally out him, theres a moment of … why did he lie? Usually a clear reason why they Catfish, like they are the opposite sex, super young/old, a friend, ex-partner or even dangerous.
When sitting down with him, Nev & Max uncover a problem which is based around stereotypes. Tony’s personality is geeky and shy; from his previous experiences he found some women assume things of a black man and are disappointed when he’s honest about who he is deep down (Thats the crux although a lot more is said which I could dig right into).
He then goes on to talk about how his family are not accepting of mixed race relationships and this further blows up in a later discussion with his family. They ask why a white man and when he gives his reasons, they are even more mortified than the whole proposal of marriage to a white woman (Colleen).
The whole thing serves as a reminder of how many people have to live up to these bollox stereotypes, and how we oppose our stereotypes on each other. Its also a reminder of how uncool its still seen to be geeky in black culture. You could argue this is Tony’s problem but I’d argue you haven’t been paying attention.
Interestingly I finally watched I am not your negro, which is a uncomfortable watch for many as it centres around race relations and power in America.
By and large this film concerns itself with the greater philosophy of why groups in power behave the way they do. This might be the only movie about race relations I’ve ever seen that adequately explains – with sympathy – the root causes of a complacent white American mindset. And it took a black writer and director to do it.
Watching I am not your negro points at why someone like Tony may feel the need to lie about himself? Lovia from the new republic said…

The last half of I Am Not Your Negro moves out of the lives of Malcolm, Martin, and Medgar and takes a broader look at American culture. Over clips of daytime dramas like The Steve Wilkos Show and The Jerry Springer Show, Jackson reads Baldwin’s prescient commentary:

“To watch the TV screen for any length of time is to learn some really frightening things about the American sense of reality. We are cruelly trapped between what we would like to be and what we actually are. And we cannot possibly become what we would like to be until we are willing to ask ourselves just why the lives we lead on this continent are mainly so empty, so tame, and so ugly. These images are designed not to trouble, but to reassure. They also weaken our ability to deal with the world as it is, ourselves as we are.”

Americans in the age of Trump are undergoing a painful period of self-reflection. The election of a reality television star to the highest office in the land would be disconcerting on its own. But the fact that this same star proved time and again that he has no respect for women, minorities, and the disabled makes his election that much harder to understand.

Almost feel like some of the works from Andy Curtis could be very fitting too.

Little diversity changes in the valley?

Nancy Lee

Google’s head of diversity, Nancy Lee, is retiring from Google after several years of leading the company’s global diversity and inclusion team

In Google’s latest diversity report, we saw that overall representation of women went from 30 percent female in 2014 to 31 percent female in 2015. But the overall percentage of black and Hispanic people did not increase at all, with overall representation of blacks remaining at 2 percent and Hispanics remaining at 3 percent. In 2015, only 4 percent of Google’s hires were black and 5 percent of its hires were Hispanic.

It’s not clear who will take over as head of diversity or when Lee’s last day is. Google declined to comment for this story.

Although still (at the moment I write this) not confirmed and this isn’t a criticism of Nancy’s initiatives. But its not great news and looking back at the afrofutures talk I gave a while back, little seems to have changed when it comes to non-white or non-asian people in tech. I would have hoped the increase in women would be higher too, especially with all work and attention.

Seems little is going to change in the valley, at least for diversity and inclusion. I’m sure we will find out about Nancy’s difficult position very soon.

Dyslexia, creativity and diversity

The advert that caused controversy, asking for dyslexic people

I am a subscriber to the codpast which is a excellent podcast about dyslexia and dyspraixa. Almost every episode is great and I started going through the back catalogue a while ago. There are some suprises like how I kind of warmed to Peter Stringfellow (I never thought I ever would).

But the most recent one really got me rewinding once I finished in the shower (I tend to listen to podcasts in the morning while getting ready for work)

Creativity is often seen as the preserve of artists, musicians and writers, but Chris Arnold, founder of ad agency The Garage, sees creativity as an essential aptitude needed to make it in the world of business.

With dyslexia and creativity tightly linked, Chris put his money where his mouth is and courted controversy when he posted a job ad stating, ‘Only dyslexics need apply’!

 

I wish there was a transcript but its such a great listen…

What do I make of the advert? Well the word “Should” makes all the difference in my mind. If they said they would “only” accept dyslexic people that would be rightly breaking equality law. The law which is setup to help.

 

A step on the way to Diversity?

I understand why the Huffington Post, posted the picture of their editors meeting and to be fair they never actually said it was about diversity. But myself and others looked at it and thought a few things.

There seems to be a lack of black women at the table. To me this reflected the poor state of diversity in the tech sector generally. It almost seems like the 25-30% asian is right on in this picture too. Then you have the issue of them seeming to be middle class and most likely all from a similar class of university (I’m totally guessing and sure will be proven very wrong). Moss code, spells it out in a way I wouldn’t quite go as far.

The diversity in laptops might seem funny, but its indicates a deeper problem I keep seeing. The lack of diversity of thought, fear of individualism and group think. They might as well be wearing the same clothes and the same style hair. Its like those white ear buds, it went from I’m in the same club to a mass thing and you can’t possibily consider another colour. Sad but true

It might seem harsh and there is absolutely no disrespect to Liz Heron or the Huffington Post editors team. Honestly I could walk into most places and find far worst, but its important to note we have got a long way to go and I’m more welcoming to diversity which is not simply replacing one group with another.

It had to be said sorry…

Interview about Black Culture Applied to Technology

I did a interview off the back of the Afrofutures talk I did in Manchester last year. Its part of a group of interviews on How We Get To Next. Its a good interview and thanks to Florence Okoye for the great questions which leads into my thoughts on black culture, diversity and growing up in a ever-changing world.

Ian @ BarcampLondon5 - Day 1

I was invited to do a interview off the back of the Afrofutures talk I did in Manchester last year. Its part of a group of interviews on How We Get To NextIts a good interview and thanks to Florence Okoye for the great questions which leads into my thoughts on black culture, diversity and growing up in a ever-changing world.

Here’s some interesting parts, although I have to say the whole thing is good and worth reading in full.

A little background on what made me the person I am today.

I kind of knew I was different from other people at an early age. Yes, there was the challenge of being one of three black people in a junior school, but I also found out I might be dyslexic. Friends could tell you I didn’t quite fit in — though I wasn’t a misfit. I was popular, kind of sporty, but also geeky and fiercely independent in thought. This meant I tended to find my own way of doing things, and therefore my independence was tied to use of technology. It was only later at university that I learned once and for all that I was dyslexic, and my coping strategies existed around technology.

Remembering the first time I created a webpage for my graphic design course and the conflict I faced. I feel this is similar to the perceptive media idea; its a new medium and we should/could treat it as such.

There was a key moment I will never forget when learning about the web and creating HTML pages. I did one of my design projects as a website and my college lecturer asked me to print it out. I tried to explain and pled with her that this was a different medium and printing it out made no sense. I think it was that moment when I started to side more with the tech.

The effect of dance music/culture on my life, and the start of my distaste and distrust of popular culture… If I was answering this again, I would add something about being you’re self, not what others want you to be. This certainly speaks to my inner fire for independance.

I hate popular culture. It winds me up [to] no end! I was a geek but never got into fantasy or really into science fiction. I found it too stereotypical and formulaic for me to take seriously.

I also was massively influenced by dance/rave music, which was a very different culture. I remember hating mainstream radio for not playing rave music. The mainstream press was vilifying ravers and this new culture.

They say house music is a feeling, but it’s a whole culture which didn’t get its dues till far later, and even now it’s been watered down and packaged up into something boring and generic

A little but on how I see [I don’t see as such but my mind connects them] the world as one hyper-connected system full of interesting emergent structures and challenges. It hard for others to imagine but I’m imagining its similar to the way synesthesia feels for people who have it. Its just the reality, and it only people telling you again that you are wrong, which makes you dobht.

I see everything as connected. It’s just the way my mind thinks, being dyslexic. I see technologies which are not ready for the mainstream, technologies which break rules and change the centralized power structures. They are ignored or rejected till they get too big and the incumbents have to face up to them or outlaw them, as it breaks their fragile business models.

This is classic innovator’s dilemma stuff, to be honest.

What excites me… open collaboration with open minded people, as too much effort is wasted settling peoples egos.

There are lots of interesting trends in store for the future. I don’t like to dream about [them]; instead, I follow the Alan Kay quote, “the best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Instead of inventing it, which makes people imagine people in basements doing funny things alone, I would change the last part to collaborate.

Now if only I could adapt this into my Linkedin profile…

The best parts of BarCampManchester6

BarCampManchester6

I had a blast at BarCampManchester6 last weekend. Thanks to Claire Dodd for putting on a good BarCamp, and what a great venue. The Autotrader office in First street,

It reminded me of the BarCampLondon’s where the venues were purpose build with actual meeting rooms, etc. BarCampManchester5 for example, although in a lovely venue (SpaceportX) lacked the polish of a purpose build office, so we needed to hire chairs and make spaces.

IMG_1741

However that BarCamp will go down in history for starting a number of things. Autotrader was a sponsor and I’m sure that contributed to the discussion about BarCampManchester6?

The other big one is Claire Dodd, who I will freely admit did a lot of the work on BarCampManchester5. Enough to decide to go for it herself – which to be fair is always my plan, hand it off to somebody who makes it their own. This came up in a session later, which I did with Claire about how to run a barcamp. Encouraging others to maybe consider it but also learn from two people who have some experience of doing so.

The BarCampManchester6 went smoothly and although it wasn’t a overnight barcamp, we played Werewolf till 2:30am. You can’t have a barcamp in the UK without Werewolf (I blame Simon Willson for importing werewolf into BarCampLondon1 9 years ago! Maybe I should add it to his wikipedia page?) There were 2 parallel games next to a showing of that cult classic film Hackers (1995! Yes 20years ago!)

I am gutted I didn’t have the guts to follow though on the last game. As the seer but also a lover, I should have gone for the win with my cupid lover but my lover was also the last werewolf. Somehow I convinced myself, the lover connection was too obvious and led the village to kill the werewolf.

Afterwards I skateboarded home kicking myself for not doing it (ok a little drink and skating might have been involved, but I took it carefully, avoiding the clubbers and students going to the warehouse project on store street)

BarCampManchester6

Some of the highlights for me included a few of my own talks.

After looking at the grid for a while, I decided I wanted to do a talk about a few thing, which other talks had touched on.  I came with the idea of doing a talk about neurodiversity but felt it wasn’t the right time or place, so substituted it for a talk about the richness of life, getting over rejection and how to be lucky.. Lifting out my own thoughts from blog posts I written a while ago. It was well attended and glad I picked a larger room rather than a small one. A few people commented they enjoyed it quite a bit as it was quite different from the other talks.

Over the first day quite a few people asked what happened to the diversity talk and I said it got rolled into my 2nd talk about being neurodiverse and living with dyslexia. This was much lower attended but there was a guy there who was also dyslexic and explained the coping mechanisms he uses along side my own.  It was heart felt, with me admitting maybe too much, except not the stuff I will one day talk about.

I followed up the day afterwards with a talk titled How to be interesting… Not many people came but those who did, were touched by the blogging one.

Start a blog and update it regularly!
blogging or sharing your thoughts are still very important and really helps when referring to points in arguments. Its still what I recommend to many people who ask me where to start. Like above, the interchange of ideas with other peoples thoughts will make you a more interesting person. Also make sure its regular, otherwise you will loose the momentum or build it up too big in your mind.

Katrina Patel, wrote about her view of my talk. Specially about the same point.

One of Ian’s points focused on a blog of his in particular ‘How to be Interesting.’ Now let’s focus on point 2. Start a blog and update it regularly!

I’ve dipped in an out of blogging in the past, but it seems that things didn’t work out. I asked Ian this, and it seems that it’s okay to blog about anything and everything.

Yes indeed, this blog is a mash of my own thoughts and ideas, if you can’t write what you really think about, it will always seem like a chore. Hopefully this will aid in Katrina’s personal brand by making her much more interesting. Good luck Katrina and thanks for the post, let many more flow soon.

BarCampManchester6

At some point of Sunday morning, a few of us got wrapped up in a discussion, while waiting for the BarCamp to start its 2nd day about Startup Culture (real unconference/lobbycon stuff). There was a frustration with the emphases on startup culture and its affect on Manchester’s digital scene.

I took this up into a discussion which pulled in my thoughts about needing more social and community focused startups. I felt the debate was quite balanced about the need for profit making startups but deadly against the silicon valley culture of endless profit and continuous growth. I quoted something from Paul Graham about needing to startup in Silicon Valley.

We decided at the end of the session that we should do something about it all. I remembered the Geeks of London when they wrote the hackday manifesto. Its caused a stir but the best thing was, when people got upset they said fork it if you care so much.

20150926_BarcampMcr_12

I have to give credit to Teknoteacher (Alan O’Donohoe) who did a nice little session about podcasting  in a podcast.  He encouraged all of us to record the podcast. So Teknoteacher recorded it on his phone and others like myself recorded it on our devices.

One of my favourite talk of the barcamp was Vimla‘s diversity talk (she had done what I backed out of doing). So good, I convinced Vimla to put in a session at Mozilla Festival along the same lines. Vimla’s rage for diversity was infectious and the people who asked me about my diversity session were all there with lots to say. Vimla’s main point is something I keep banging on about but few people seems to understand.

The movement of women in technology is great and has a long long way to go, but thats only a small part of the diversity problem. Or Diversity is much greater than just male and female. It sounds so obvious but I can’t tell you how many times I have met and talked to people about diversity and they instantly fall back to the women in technology movement.

BarCampManchester6

No! Diversity isn’t simply that!

I even say it myself, what a poor victory it is, if we just add to while middle class women to the existing workforce of white middle class men. Our aim should be the moon not the lower stratosphere. Yes we work backwards but the aim should always be world changing, otherwise what’s the point?

There was quite discussion in the room and some slightly heated things were said (some people should know better, trying to put a hierarchy in place for diversity!), but Vimla kept some pretty dicey discussion on the level. Great work Vimla, look forward to Mozfest.

There were other good talks by many other people including the Happiness talk, Rosie’s Pareidolia and machine learning talk and many more. But Vimla’s talk really took the top spot for me.

BarCampManchester6

The wrap of BarCampManchester6 was full of prizes, which seems to be a tradition coming from BarCampBlackpool. I won something this time instead of being a prize myself (last time a date with me was a prize!). Claire and the team around her did a great job and they got me thinking about doing another BarCamp soon????

Will it happen…? Who knows… but lets say I have retired from running BarCamps 3 times now. Maybe its just time to stay in retirement.

As Claire said in the talk about running your own Barcamp, you can’t help but look at venues and think… This would be a great venue for a BarCamp…

A world written by one slice of a very big pie

Diversity in the digital sector, its the thing which I and many many others are banging about. In recent times, I have been thinking about this a lot and even more in regards to the Mozilla Festival.

This year one of the ambitions in Mozfest is…

How can we leverage the web to include more people, across gender, class, race and age? How can we be humble yet proactive in overcoming real discrimination and exclusion?

On a related note… , sent me a tweet to his idea to put together a digital diversity alliance.

I do want to make the digital world diverse, I am seriously worried about where we are going. There are signs that things will get better for some but its clear we need to look diversity not just one segment of the whole pie. I understand this is incredibly hard but its so important that the aim is the moon not just the upper atmosphere.

Mr Robot says Fcuk society

Recently I watched Mr Robot and a few other films (I promise no spoilers) but it emphasize the problem with a mono culture for me.

A young computer programmer (Malek) who suffers from social anxiety disorder and forms connections through hacking. He’s recruited by a mysterious anarchist, who calls himself Mr. Robot.

The problem with the mono culture around the digital industry is in my mind self evident. This is bad but its going to get way worst

As software makes its way into more services and those services in turn become a larger part of our lives through law, economics, social norms plus practically through the internet of things, synthetic biology, etc. It’s important to think about software as having an opinion of some kind.

Larry Lessig

Lawrence Lessig wrote a fantastic book called code: and other laws of cyberspace. Where be talked about code as law because the law is always playing catch up to the code, algorithms, systems and ultimately opinions baked into the code. Imagine trying to reason with a drone carrying guns, when you naturally act outside of the parameters set by somebodies idea of how people should act (or is that the American police force now?). Reminds me of a colleague at work who during BarCampMediaCity somebody thought was drunk and should be told to leave. But anybody who knows him, knows thats his natural state.

united colours of benetton advert
Ah Remember those united colours of benetton adverts? Maybe Tech needs more these…?

Sounds extreme but the example is pointing at the same thing. Its unconscious bias and unfortunately its being baked into software, hardware and the services we use. But unlike us its not got the chance to recognise the bias and correct its self (as such).

THIS IS BAD!

Why am I not taking Toby up on his ask?

Simple

You have time to help create the best Digital Diversity Alliance in the whole wide world.  It’s not a full-time job but we need committed individuals brimming with passion and drive.

I am time poor, I have a lot of things happening including helping out at a dyslexia group in Manchester and I’m trying to commit to less stuff till I get things in a reasonable state. Its a shame but I need to be honest with myself and its not fair on those who can do a equal or a better job but can also dedicate more attention than myself. Hate to be the one hold back such a great alliance.Take good fortune Toby and if I can help in future, I certainly would like to feed into the alliance in some way. I’d like to start this by encouraging you to float the idea in a workshop at Mozfest 2015. Equally if you too would like to have a less bleak, diverse and collaborative future. Contact Toby in his post

Black lives matter

Manchester Ferguson protest

Thanks to Anna who pointed me at the protest/march in Manchester for all the black people who have died in Ferguson, from police brutality over the years. It comes right after I wrote my own blog post about Ferguson following the guys on singleblackmale.

Its been 20 years since I took part in a protest, I decided after the crazy stuff which happened  during the Criminal Justice Bill protests. I was done, especially watching how the whole thing got co-opt by others for their own reasons

It was amazing, the organiser put it on Facebook as a open event and within 2 days, 300+ people had signed up. Its a true testament of what can be achieved with emergence and what a great reason to bring people together.

Manchester Ferguson protest

I got to St Peters Square where the protest/march started about 12:10. There were about 80-100 people hanging around. White Tshirts with victims names on them and signs with a number of different phrases on them. A few really great chosen speakers spoke and then we were off. We marched around Albert Square (where the Christmas Markets are, I think originally we were going to march through them but as I suggested security made it clear they don’t want us) down Princess street up Portland Street along China town and on to Piccadilly Gardens.

Manchester Ferguson protest

Once at Piccadilly Gardens, the microphone was thrown open to anybody who wanted to talk about Ferguson. It started well with a number of speakers including myself. However once again other organisations used the opportunity to co-opt the event to their own ends. It was shocking and at some points! It was shameful as the best intentions were rocked. Theres a rant on the facebook event thread which is full of fire but there are bits I do agree with…

…It really hurt to see the organisers visibly upset by the end. This is what happens when a group of concerned individuals take the initiative to organise a purely grass roots event unaffiliated to any groups, only for groups and parties to greedily swoop down on it and ruthlessly exploit it like vultures. Shame on you! This event was about Mike Brown and every other black victim of police violence, past present and future. NOT about your group…

 

 

Manchester Ferguson protest

Shame indeed, there was quite a few times when I thought about just going home, heck I had somewhere else (Sunday dinner at Jasmine’s) I needed to be. But this was important and I wanted to hear it through.

I did bump into a old friend and we got talking about what had happened and what we should take from it. I mentioned Ambient Belonging which recently came back up from a wired piece about a possible reason why women are not taking up roles in computer science. Ambient belonging I have never mentioned before on my blog although I heard it first in the video I linked to.

Manchester Ferguson protest

On the slight run back to the flat, I got thinking about Umair Haque’s Whats it means to change the world rant and how critical it is to have diversity in tech sector.  Ayesha Mittal and Naomi Nao Mi were able to organise using widely available services but could there be a startup which would make it even easier and better at prolonging the relationship beyond the one event? Or a better question who is working on systems and use-cases for them? I bet you Google, Facebook and the rest of the stacks certainly are not.

Manchester Ferguson protest

So I am glad I went out, even while I wasn’t really 100%. There was no police involvement, no trouble makers, no big opposition from Manchester’s Sunday shoppers. It was however, upsetting to see things co-opted as the young people just wanted to express themselves, their thoughts on whats going on and pay tribute in their own way…  The Ego of the organisations which tried to take over, was shocking and I’m glad they got the cold shoulder for their lack of respect in something more of a remembrance than protest. For example the socialist worker setup a stand at St Peters even when told to go away.

Ferguson has America corruption all over it and something we all need to tackle black, white, green… but today wasn’t about that… It was remembrance of the many who have lost their lives for their skin colour and the voices of the next generation. Why would you ever want to silence them?

The descent of men not mankind

Thinking Digital 2014

I always get stick for not consuming a lot of BBC media but thats just the way I am to be honest (maybe one day I’ll go into this with more depth). However every once in a while I come across something which somebody recommends or links to.

Recently I have consumed the Future of Radio series (which I’m sure somebody thought after hearing about Perceptive Radio) and a very touching documentary about mixtapes which really sums up a lot of the thinking behind the physical playlist project. However its the Future proofing which has most impressed in the last month.

Can Civility Survive?

Mathematician Hannah Fry and guests look at whether civility can survive in the modern age

The Singularity

What happens if we reach the singularity, the day when machines match human intelligence?

No End of Pleasure

How will humans experience pleasure in the future?

The Descent of Man

Writer Michael Smith explores the uncertain future of masculinity.

It was can civility survive which got me interested in the series. Actually something Zoe posted on a similar vein got me thinking about the connection of doing things the modern way. Not relying on the legacy of the past. I mean for example, I mention Sarah quite a bit, shes lovely but shes an ex. Why should I be afraid to mention her? Anybody finds this weird could do with a strong reminder that its 2014 FFS! The same applies to most of the points Hello Giggles makes especially

  • The wallet reach

  • Being terrified to mention your ex

  • Feeling any embarrassment about online dating

  • Sticking out a terrible date out of politeness

But this blog is about the descent of men… Which I would if creating a mindmap for, would cross check with Blaise’s talk from Thinking Digital (video online now and MUST be watched) which also crosses over with The Singularity documentary from the BBC and many more posts including this one.

Listening to the documentary about the uncertain future of masculinity, I felt like how I felt when blaise gave his talk. Its a little scary from a male point of view and its clear to see why some men are rebelling. They like things how they are and don’t want it to change. The change is scary but theres no excuse for ignorance and hostility! They have to get use it because its going to happen and frankly its a great thing for humankind and the diversity of the human race. I urge men to look at this all as a positive thing!

It always reminds me of my position as a feminist and that blog post which really solidified my view.

You call that positive discrimination?

Becky, Rosie, Jasmine - The R&D girls

Rosie recently wrote her feelings about women speakers at conferences and the small backlash against encouraging women to speak.

Most people I’ve spoken to agree that attempts to increase diversity are a goodthing. Inevitably however, there are some that immediately cry ‘positive discrimination!’. I find myself trying to combat the same old misconceptions time and time again

So she runs through some of those misconceptions people cling to when talking about women at conferences. The big one which I hear over and over again is… positive discrimination.

Conflating terms: positive discrimination, quotas, and diversity targets

People often use the phrase ‘positive discrimination’ when they mean something else entirely. Positive discrimination, otherwise known as affirmative action, is the process of; given two equal candidates; preferring the one who is usually disadvantaged by discrimination. This is different to quotas, where a certain number of places are reserved for disadvantaged minorities. This is different again from diversity targets, which as they describe, are a target, not a mandate. Targets often involve simply trying to attract a wider, more diverse range of people to apply for a role, with no preferential treatment after that stage. For brevity, I shall group these under the term ‘diversity measures’. You may take issue with one kind of diversity measure and not with another, but let’s get our definitions straight from the start.

Rosies right, there’s too many people calling things by the wrong name. Sometimes they do it cause fuss and confusion, sometimes its by accident. What ever the reason,  the choice of words tend to strike up visions of people getting ahead not on their own merit and blah blah before you know it, there’s the sliver of anger and before long the rest of the terms come to the minds and out pops…

  • I just want the best person, regardless of gender
  • We should be blind to gender!
  • Women don’t like diversity measures, they’re patronising
  • There just aren’t enough qualified women around
  • It results in a drop in quality
  • Diversity measures are inherently unfair

Yes I know you all have heard this from people we know, and should know better… Ugh. So what we going to do about it?

300 seconds is back in Manchester on Adalovelace day 14th October. Last time we hosted it at the BBC and it was a great night full of enjoyment and a real good chance for some great women to gain some confidence public speaking.

If anything Rosie or I have said chimes with you, and you want to make a difference. Apply to be a speaker, its rewarding and you will be doing something positive which will help pave the path for others to follow in your footsteps.

Neurodiversity?

I haven’t really heard the term neurodiversity before and from what I read, its a controversial term for many reasons. But dyslexia would be covered under Neurodiversity.

Neurodiversity is an approach to learning and disability that suggests that diverse neurological conditions appear as a result of normal variations in the human genome

This term was coined in the late 1990s as a challenge to prevailing views of neurological diversity as inherently pathological, and it asserts that neurological differences should be recognized and respected as a social category on a par with gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability status. Neurodiversity is also an international online disability rights movement that has been promoted primarily by the autistic self-advocate community (although other disability rights groups have joined the neurodiversity movement). This movement frames neurodiversity as a natural human variation rather than a disease, and its advocates reject the idea that neurological differences need to be (or can be) cured, as they believe them to be authentic forms of human diversity, self-expression, and being.

Interesting stuff, I guess a label is always going to cause people to shout fowl. But for me its nice to have a label for mind based abilities (or disabilities if you prefer). Regardless, the diversity of ideas and thoughts still applies…

We need more 21st Century Mindful Leadership

Transformational Leadership

Laura tweeted a link to 21st Century Mindful Leadership, which I had a read of and sent her a link fromUmair Haque.

I liked a lot of what was said from Susan in the post. Here’s a couple parts which really got me.

As we head further into the 21st century the ancient concept of systematic hierarchies where people are ranked above or below one another is fading away. And it’s a good thing because science is recognizing that authoritative, egotistic and critical behavior actually goes against the grain of our innate nature.

When I read this part, I just can’t help but think about that striking thinking digital talk by Blaze. As Laura mentioned when I spoke about Blaze’s talk… Nature and Biodiversity is critical and Susan’s just picking up on the tail end of the inevitable trend.

I certainly like this maybe because it reflects my own view of what leadership is or at least should be… The summary at the end finishes it off for me nicely.

Standing on the edge of the 21st century we have the ability to create more good in the world than ever before. Globally, leaders have a responsibility to develop inner resilience, clarity and vision coupled with a compassionate understanding of humanity in order to effectively lead us through complex challenges.  With the willingness to work together we have the chance to initiate sustainable solutions that will improve the lives of every single person on earth — the opportunity of a lifetime.

Absolutely… Couldn’t have said it better myself, except we need more enlighten leaders and leadership. We need to push for better leaders and not put up with the same crap from the same sources.