Gender role literacy: Girls in science?

Pink + Legos = GirlsThere are gender wars, and then there are casualties. It wasn’t until 2011 that the behemoth toymaker LEGO acknowledged girls’ desire to build with bricks, even though the company had long before made a seemingly effortless pivot to co-branding, video games, and major motion pictures. So it’s little wonder that girls face all-too-real obstacles when it comes to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Continue reading

Challenges of crowdsourcing: Analysis of Historypin

Historypin globeCrowdsourcing can build virtual community, engage the public, and build large knowledge databases about science and culture. But what does it take, and how fast can you grow?

Historypin logoFor some insight, we look at a crowdsourced history site: Historypin is an appealing database of historical photos, with dates, locations, captions, and other metadata. It’s called History “pin” because the photos are pinned on a map. (See recent article about Changes over time, in photos and maps.) Some locations have photos from multiple dates, showing how a place has changed over time, or cross-referenced with Google Maps StreetView. Currently, Historypin has 308k items, from 51k users, and 1.4k institutions. This is a graph of pins over the last three years: Continue reading

Dinovember: Creative literacy starts young

Welcome to Dinovember“Uh-oh,” Refe Tuma heard his girls whisper. “Mom and Dad are not going to like this.”

It’s Dinovember, and his family’s plastic dinosaurs have been getting into mischief all month. Every year, Tuma and his wife devote the month of November to “convincing our children that, while they sleep, their plastic dinosaur figures come to life.  Continue reading

What are the most important articles in Wikipedia?

WikipediaWikipedia has 4,362,397 articles in English.  But how many of those are seriously encyclopedic, and what are the most important articles?

We’ve been looking closely at Wikipedia for an upcoming app. We wanted to know the most important articles. We calculated an importance score for every article, based on how richly linked a Wikipedia article is within Wikipedia (the number and quality of links to a page), how many languages an article has been translated into, the brevity of the title, how popular an articles is (web hits), and the number of citations/references of an article (scholarliness).

The following are our results. This is an arbitrary, but interesting ranking, so we wanted to share it: Continue reading