Funding Friday: RaceYa

I saw this project this morning and backed it right away.

I’m a sucker for anything that is a fun and engaging way for kids to learn.

#crowdfunding#hacking education

Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    assuming these kids do have (or at least have access to) mobile phones i wonder if the car’s design could be evolved to allow it to be remotely controlled through a mobile and app?that would be a a sensible merger of old and new tech. mobiles are not going away. neither are cars (big ones) unfortunately.even for this big kid computer screens are only a technical necessity. there’s nothing particularly exciting about the experience. where’s my bicycle?

    1. Abigail Edgecliffe

      Hi Jason, I am the inventor of RaceYa and I’m so glad you asked this question.A programmable board is on our roadmap! I love robotics and physical computing so I want kids to be able to have something that makes it easy to hack mechanically, aesthetically and robotically. The programmable board we’re planning will let kids control the car and add sensors to start them down the path to building a mini autonomous vehicle.For me, it’s important that kids know where their tech is coming from and that there are human decisions behind the algorithms. When they get to be the ones making those decisions, the better they’ll understand the world around them.Feel free to reach out if you have other questions!Abigailps – I’m afraid I cannot locate your bike.

      1. jason wright

        cool. i want to regress :)it is better that they understand, and because then they can then make more informed and better decisions, both about tech and about their lives, two things that are becoming ever more entwined.”add sensors” – camera module?

        1. Abigail Edgecliffe

          Precisely! And Yes! – as a spy camera (because what kid doesn’t want to spy on their family) and/or an FPV so they can get a cat’s eye view of the world.

  2. Vendita Auto

    This one I noted although early days and expensive, An alternative your own gladiator would be engaging for any gender…

  3. Pointsandfigures

    Is there anything on Kickstarter that is designed to improve memory? I’d like to gift it to JR Smith. Ray Charles coulda hit that put back shot

    1. kidmercury

      that was so sad. i felt so bad for the cavs. then i remembered they make millions of dollars to play a game, and i didn’t feel sad for them anymore. i felt sad for the fans though.

      1. jason wright

        yeah, the artifice of pro sports, the poor players, agents, accountants, lawyers, IP attorneys, sportswear brands, consumer brands, media rights owners, the whole ecosystem stack of greed. pity the fans, who appear to be deaf, dumb, and blind to the truth.

  4. mikenolan99

    OK… I really need grandkids….

  5. Mac

    OK. I can see giving up some of my Lego time for this. Cool.

  6. sigmaalgebra

    When I was that age, I did a LOT of working with machines including toy cars. Sure, I would have played with such toy cars.The main biggie issue: As the Wright brothers discovered, flight including powered flight is the easy part. Controlled flight is the hard part. It’s the same with powered toys — control. Uh, it’s not a lot of fun to see the toy run and just crash into a wall.Second issue: The parts look very nicely designed. Are they expensive?Third issue: How versatile are the parts, i.e., how much freedom do the kids have to do something of their own with the parts? From the beautiful but precise design, I’m guessing not much.For versatility and admitting originality, I suspect that an old Erector Set is a better foundation.My guess is that by now a good toy store or hobby shop has a LOT of components — electric motors, gears, drive line parts, radio control, maybe cameras that can transmit back to a computer screen, small turbo jet engines, small internal combustion engines, wheels, tires, maybe plastic and metal stock and glues to permit fabrication, maybe some 3D printing capabilities, of course, now, drones and drone parts — electric engines, radio control, etc.Oh, by the way, sweetheart, if are to do much with such uses of electricity, will need a good VOM — volt, ohm meter. You do know what a ohm is, right? Hint: It has nothing to do with yoga! Will also want some solder. Gads, get the rosin core, not the acid core, but you knew that, didn’t you? I omitted, the bunch of alligator clips.But the biggest problem is right there, slapping the viewer in the face with the social engineering of politically correct, social justice warrior, gender neutrality, racial diversity, promotion of females and children of color, making Caucasian males secondary, etc. The social justice warriors and diversity proponents have declared war on Caucasian males — with high irony, the situation is close to violation of laws on discrimination.Of those issues, the one I’d bet just will NOT work is gender neutrality. It won’t work. No way. Mother nature was there many thousands of years ago, and the gender neutrality experiments always had the same result — they were weak, sick, or dead limbs on the tree, and we’re not their descendants.Uh, it’s totally obvious what is being attempted: Have the females be more productive in practical things, i.e., the economy, instead of “merely” motherhood. Clearly we’re not nearly the first generation to see that opportunity for more practical, economic productivity: All the way back the females could have been doing the same as the males in hunting, fighting, exploring, inventing, building, etc. No doubt that was tried, some each generation. Thing is, mostly we’re not their descendants because that effort created weak, sick, or dead limbs on the tree. It still will. But, if can put the women to work, then can bump up the local real estate prices and keep the average number of children per woman under 2. See a lot of future in the 2- number?There is a biggie, huge, don’t try to fight it, basic fact of life: Right from the crib, the females are interested in people and the males, things. Those toys are THINGS, are toys for boys. In that video, the girls will be interested in PEOPLE, in the social situations surrounding the activity; really only the boys will be much interested directly in the toys. Even the CEO didn’t see it: She was talking about “friction” when her video was showing a beautiful example of rack and pinion steering!!!! Honey, it’s a rack and pinion and NOT “friction”!!!!Now, sweetheart, what about differential center sections, roll centers, under steer, and Ackerman steering? Disclosure: My Ph.D. is from a school of engineering, and once I was made a Full Member of the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers). As a healthy American male, as a teenager I was a car nut. When I had the money, I bought muscle cars, a Firebird 400, a 396 Camaro, a Buick Turbo T-Type. Yesterday I tried to find the engineering details of the Chevy engine that just won the Indy 500 and did look at the range of Chevy crate engines, especially the transmission ratios for the transmission they have in mind for their 572 cubic inch, 620 HP, big block crate engine. I’m still a car nut. Some third party people make aluminum Chevy big block compatible blocks. Computers, applied math, and mathematical physics are now much more interesting for me, but I’ll never quit thinking about a computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine that might take a block of aluminum and turn it into an engine block, say, W-24 configuration, for a 3000 HP hot rod engine. Just get the running gear and drive line from truck parts!Look, each girl has a mother. The girl knows quite early on that she’s a small version of mommy, not daddy. If the mother is happy, then the girl will want to be like mommy. That is, the girl will want to be a happy mommy and marry a man just like the man that married happy mommy. Daughters of unhappy mommies tend to be unhappy and poor mommies. The strong limbs on the tree are from girls with happy mommies — those girls, like their mommies, are interested in people, not things.Look even at that video and observe a little and will see that girls are being traditional girls — they are paying attention to the social situations, NOT the mechanical parts. In particular, one case is overwhelming: She’s about 10-11, is nowhere near those toys, already with relatively long legs, knows very well that she’s well on the way to being very attractive as a young woman, and is acting out — nearly dancing, bet she has thought about ballet — being attractive as a young woman. For her to be very interested in mechanical toys would be about as likely as a violation of the law of conservation of energy.Ballet? Okay, don’t believe me. Instead look at…So, this is from Vienna, the J. Strauss Blue Danube, with four girls somewhere in their teens doing ballet to the music. Yes, there are also four boys. But the girls are 110% of the show, unbelievably graceful, socially insightful, polished, animated, expressive, etc., and the boys are clumsy, socially oblivious, stiff, there just as fence posts at times to help the girls balance. For anyone to watch that video and conclude that boys and girls are the same in any significant sense is just blind or delusional. But if a bicycle needs a new tire, any of the boys will be able to do that right away while the girls stand there, smile, watch, and admire. All the insightful girls know that for anything mechanical or electrical, with just a smile, they can get a boy to do it for them!Again, once again, over again, yet again, one more time, the goals of gender neutrality and equality will fail. As in E. Fromm, “Men and women deserve equal respect as persons but are not the same.”. He went on, IIRC, “Western Civilization got the idea of gender neutrality from the French Revolution where acceptance of any difference was seen as a threat of tyranny.”.The whole thing looks like an NYC-SF, Democrat, liberal thingy. Or, real estate prices are so high mostly can’t have kids anyway so just trick the girls into having careers like the boys. Won’t work: Been tried before. Darwin was on the case. “It’s not nice to try to fool Mother Nature.”I’ll mention something that will quickly beat mechanical toys for girls — a first makeup kit with lipstick, powder, whatever that stuff is they put on their eyes, hair brush, comb, and rollers, nail polish, decorative things to put in their hair, earrings, etc. Once she gets one of those, the mechanical toys will go to the floor in the back of the closet and never be touched again.From a movie:You are meddling with forces you cannot possibly comprehend.A brilliant girl once told me “Women don’t have to just be cared for. Women can do things, too. I want a career.”. I believed her. We were both wrong. For her, the effort was fatal. With great determination to understand just why we were so wrong, I learned the lessons, and some of them are in this post. For those lessons, I paid “full tuition”. If I do write Girls 101 for Dummies — Boys I will emphasize what I learned.I would say that this effort, like many others, to have the girls be more like the boys would lead some girls astray and hurt them. Naw! Nearly no girls will be fooled! Not a chance!George Bernard Shaw wrote something about “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?”. He got a nice story out of that. And there was a musical and a movie that gave the answer.

    1. rachelsklar

      Hey, sweetheart, get the memo: it’s not 1950, it’s 2018. If you’re PhD is so impressive, then go ahead and build a competitor to RaceYa and show us all how smart you are. Until then, why don’t you get back to the kitchen. Byeeeeeeeee.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        So, your main argument isit’s not 1950, it’s 2018Hmm, and from that we’re supposed to draw what conclusion?But if you want to consider dates, then 1950 is not even a drop in the bucket. The real “bucket” has at least 40,000 years.My position is rock solid going back at least 40,000 years because we know with rock solid certainty that for at least that long girls have been interested in people, not things.So, just how do we know that? Well mitochondrial DNA analysis indicates that the most recent common ancestor of Japanese girls and Western European girls lived 40,000 years ago somewhere roughly in northern India. Well, both girls are interested more in people than things, and each of the two girls is closer to their common ancestor than they are to each other so that no doubt the common ancestor 40,000 years ago was also more interested in people than things. Done. Presto, bingo.Sorry you resent my Ph.D. degree. I got mine; go get your own. Of well qualified students who go for a Ph.D. in applied math, my experience indicates that something less than 1 student in 20 gets the us all how smart you areI’ve already done that in peer reviewed publications of original research in applied a competitor to RaceYaI’m way, Way too smart for that: An early key to success is to pick a good problem, and what you propose is not a good problem.I’ve picked a much better problem.

        1. Logan Jager

          You must be a hoot at cocktail parties

    2. fredwilson

      What the fuck is this comment? Have you lost your mind? I am not sure what to do with this. Leave it up and show the world what collosal loser you are or take it down to remove the annoyance of having this shit on my blog

      1. Nik Bonaddio

        I vote leave it, let it stand as a scarlet letter and permanent albatross around his neck.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          I’m absolutely, 100%, rock solidly correct. That was fully clear from what I posted. You gave no counter arguments.Again, once again, over again, yet again, one more time, this time just for you, starting already in the crib, girls are interested in people and boys, things. And there is very little overlap.You should have made good progress on this lesson by age 3 and have the lesson quite mature and polished years ago.In case the NYT-SF politically correct people have your thinking blocked, look at the reference I gave a few minutes ago in…Naw, I’ll help you out here: For more there is athttps://www.psychologytoday…with in partDo girls avoid STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields because of ongoing, widespread discrimination? Or do girls with the skill sets that would give them entrance to STEM fields prefer fields that involve working with people over fields that involve working with things? plus more details.As history has shown for tens of thousands of years and will continue to show, the albatross is around your neck and that of the hopeless, destructive, gender neutrality movement.Just what is it you don’t want to let girls be girls? You don’t like girls? You want to change them into boys? Apparently. Well, as I argued elsewhere here today, girls have been girls for at least 40,000 years and have resisted all efforts to make them boys. You won’t be successful either.Girls don’t like mechanical toys. They don’t like mechanical things. They haven’t for 40,000 years. Girls like people, NOT things. Now, write that on the board 500 times.

          1. SFG

            I don’t get the girls versus boys rant. Is it because they are showing a girl playing with the car? My daughter is all girl, but she’d want me to buy her a car to play with once in a while. Life is not 100% black and white.

          2. sigmaalgebra

            The funded project, its video, and Fred’s post all have to do with some beautifully designed toy electric cars. Part of the idea is that the cars can be not just played with but also modified. More of the idea is that with these cars, children can get more interested in understanding electro-mechanical things, maybe with connections with video, remote radio control, computer interfacing and control, etc.Then for the boy-girl thing: There is a GOAL: Much of the goal is to get girls playing with these toys, getting interested, and learning these lessons.Strongly, traditionally, boys would go wild over playing with such toys, for hours and hours, without breaking for food, sleep or anything, while girls wanted little or nothing to do with such toys.More generally there are lots of reports, remarks, observations, … on child development that to a striking degree right from the crib girls are interested in people and boys, things with the girls mostly not interested in things and the boys clumsy, indifferent, and awkward with people.So, the goal of getting girls, say, grade school, playing with these toys is in strong conflict with common, pervasive, traditional interests of girls.So, why pursue the goal? Sure, the context is the recent politically correct value of gender neutrality that boys and girls should have very much the same interests. Why? First cut, this would make girls/women more broadly competent, closer to self-sufficient, autonomous, independent, more employable, etc. The labor supply would increase, thus, comparatively, making other main economic inputs — capital, land, and technology — more valuable.The goal has two assumption: (1) Girls and boys are naturally essentially equally interested in essentially all things including such toys. (2) The traditional differences in interests are due to a failing of US society, in particular, Caucasian male dominated US society.I believe that these assumptions are wildly wrong.This gender neutrality stuff is strongly tied to recent political movements — political correctness, feminism, the gender efforts of the Obama Administration, the more radical parts of the Democrat party, a big push for diversity, a guilt trip for Caucasian males and US society more generally, etc. My view is that Obama wanted to hurt the US as much as he could, and his efforts on gender were part of his sabotage.To me this politics is from garbage down to deliberate sabotage of US society.But, most narrowly, from the assumptions and apparently also the politics, the project, the video, etc. are strongly pushing such mechanical toys and interests onto grade school girls.My strong belief is that this push will heavily fail; nearly no girls, well under 10%, will actually get much interested in such toys. Moreover, and more seriously, the girls will be hurt. Some girls will try to participate and become hurt because the boys will dominate the play with the cars and leave the girls feeling like failures and hurt. Other girls will see the toys as “for boys” and, strongly wanting to remain a “girl”, will strongly refuse to participate and, then, get criticized and hurt. Either way, the big push will hurt girls.With high irony, we can see the situation in the video: Most of the girls are trying to participate, but as we would expect the boys are the ones really interested in the toys and dominating the play, and the girls are just being social. Already just in the video, the girls are not much interested in the toys; we should have expected that, from personal experience since say, age 3, from life experiences, from how educators work with boys and girls, from common understanding about boys and girls, etc. But the project, etc. are setting aside all of this and pushing and pushing anyway.So, why the pushing? Why not just have boys and girls playing as people, parents, children, educators, psychologists, etc. have understood going way back? There’s got to be a reason. Okay, a good guess is that the reason is the politics. So, due to the politics, some people are pushing on grade school girls, and, whether they participate or not, the girls are getting hurt.If some girls want to play with toy cars, then fine with me. But hurting girls with toy cars and politics is not fine with me.This politics is strongly NYC-SF, Obama, Hillary, mainstream media, Goebbels style propaganda, etc. stuff. We are awash in such politics; I don’t want to see it dumped on girls.

        2. jason wright

          permanent? everyone is entitled to a shot at redemption.

      2. sigmaalgebra

        There’s nothing wrong, “the fuck” or otherwise.You attacked me personally but made no case.My statements were calm, rational, and very well supported. For more support, there is my post earlier today in…I’m a “loser”? I’m the guy who did work that kept FedEx from going out of business, twice. My Ph.D. dissertation was approved by a committee with a majority from outside my department and a Chair from outside my department, and the Chair was a Member, US National Academy of Engineering. One of my official dissertation advisors was later President at CMU. They all liked my work. I’ll match Math SAT scores with you anytime.I’m a “loser”? People are supposed to learn about the main differences in interests and personalities of boys versus girls with a good start by age 3. You are the one who supported an unspeakably stupid and cruel, uninformed, misinformed, misled, oblivious effort pushing grade school girls into an expectation that they will like playing with mechanical toys. They won’t. With your accomplishments as a father, I’m totally sure you know that and know it very, very well.So, instead of what you already know very well, it appears that here you are being loyal to some NYC-SF politically correct, gender neutrality, etc. tribe.Okay, I don’t share your tribal loyalties.

      3. Vendita Auto

        Easy tiger It stinks when it piles up but useful when it’s scattered personally I now love the way Dirac writes a dissertation.I remember Kenneth Tynan commenting of the new opening of the play “Anne Frank” seem to recollect the lead played by a lady called Pia Zidora (might be wrong ) anyway Tynan wrote the act was so bad when the Nazi’s entered the house the audience cried out in unison “she’s in the loft”or another fave re shit from the late wonderful Chistopher Hitchens about a fundamentalist preacher “If you gave Falwell an enema, he could be buried in a matchbox.”Ref Sigma I’m in his support camp ……..

        1. JLM

          .Extra credit for using “Nazi” without calling names.Well played.Everybody espouses free speech until they run into it. Luckily he didn’t call anyone a “c***” eh?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. Vendita Auto

            Don’t understand or you do not, Kenneth Tynan was an intellectual theater critic nothing to do with concerns re name calling ? in context PC name calling would not have come into it, “Well played” / “Extra credit” on my part does not come into my comment [eh?]

      4. JLM

        .Freddie, go back and read your own comment policy. Seems like you’ve shredded it.You don’t like the message – fair play to you – but you’ve attacked the messenger.Big tent or pup tent?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      5. jason wright

        Absinthe.this ‘winner ‘ and ‘loser’ thing is perhaps what makes America that less kind and gentle place (than say CANada). It’s a harsh culture.

      6. sigmaalgebra

        “Loser”? IIRC, you were strongly for Hillary and strongly against Trump. You lost.You need a better loser detector, one with a lower false alarm rate.

    3. Sudha Lakshmi

      “She’s about 10-11… already with relatively long legs.” What the fuck is wrong with you?

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Nothing.You gave no argument. You merely attacked me personally.She’s a girl about to become a young woman, and her behavior shows that, in particular shows, no surprise, that she has interests much stronger than mechanical toys.Something about your background has you unable to notice such aspects of reality. Apparently for you such observations of simple, normal, obvious reality are forbidden, taboo. Looks like a hangup!

    4. James Holmeson

      From one caucasian male engineer to another: You think you’re showing off how smart and rational you are, but realize you sound unhinged and cruel. It is not normal for a person to want to post a multi-page rant under a 2-line post about toy cars. From a position of kindness I strongly suggest you seek professional help, or at least some perspective outside of the bitter, misogynistic echo chamber you seem to be stuck in.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        What’s unspeakably stupid and cruel is pushing grade school girls into an expectation that they will like playing with mechanical toys.Anyone who can’t see that girls are interested in people and not things is profoundly misled, confused, has their socialization still stuck before age 3, literally, and needs “professional help”.My position is rock solid going back at least 40,000 years because we know with rock solid certainty that for at least that long girls have been interested in people, not things.So, just how do we know that? Well mitochondrial DNA analysis indicates that the most recent common ancestor of Japanese girls and Western European girls lived 40,000 years ago somewhere roughly in northern India. Well, both girls are interested more in people than things, and each of the two girls is closer to their common ancestor than they are to each other so that no doubt the common ancestor 40,000 years ago was also more interested in people than things. Done. Presto, bingo. What you call an “echo chamber” is at least 40,000 years of human history.For more there is athttps://www.psychologytoday…with in partDo girls avoid STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields because of ongoing, widespread discrimination? Or do girls with the skill sets that would give them entrance to STEM fields prefer fields that involve working with people over fields that involve working with things? plus more details.Look: Carve this into stone and hang it where you can see it several times a day: Girls are interested in people and boys, things, and there’s very little overlap.Now thank me profusely because you have now learned a lesson crucial in life that you missed out on at age 3.The “echo chamber” here is yours and the rest of the current NYT-SF “gender equality” movement.

    5. Twain Twain

      Let’s go with scientific facts rather than anecdotes.(1.) The only person to win 2 Nobel Prizes in science (one in Physics and one in Chemistry) is a woman: Marie Curie.(2.) Women coded the systems that got the astronauts to the Moon and back, SAFELY.8…(3.) Women codified the foundations of Computing itself.*…(4.) In 2018, the male:female ratio in medical school in the US is 54:46.Clearly, WOMEN ARE INTO THINGS if they’re at almost 50:50 in medical school. These things including maths, chemistry, biology, physics and computing machines (X-rays, EEGs, ECGs and so on).It’s also evidence WOMEN DELIVER EXCEPTIONAL ROI ON AN EXPEDITED BASIS because if we can catch up the 500+ years head start men had on educational access to near 50:50 parity in medical school => WOMEN ARE AS SMART & SKILLED & INTO THINGS AS HECK.(5.) China doesn’t have male CogSci academics who do social surveys that confirm their own biases of “girls are into people, boys are into things.”Here’s a Quantum Physics lecture in China. Notice male:female is around 60:40 in STEM education right up to PhD.https://uploads.disquscdn.c…@fredwilson:disqus — There is everything right about opening up the world of curiosity, wonder and problem-solving to kids, including girls. Years ago, my Dad and my male physics teacher did that and that’s why I can solve the science problems I do today.

      1. JLM

        .Your comment is fact based and absent name calling or ad hominem nonsense.It is intelligent and persuasive.Well played.This is what an intelligent discussion looks like. You reflect well on yourself and all women. Thanks.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. Twain Twain

          Thanks, Jeff. As much as possible I go with the natural sciences rather than any tribe’s socio-political affiliations and/or social engineering. There’s about 100 years of US psychometrics that’s simply badly thought out science and contributes to the counterproductive gender wars.@fredwilson:disqus @sigmaalgebra:disqus @rachelsklar:disqus — “She got into UCLA and pursued an aerospace engineering degree for what she describes as “an emotional reason:” She then joined Space X and is now working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab on the Mars 2020.https://uploads.disquscdn.c…*…Since SigmaAlgebra mentioned mitochondria, here’s 2.7 billion years worth of Nature for him.”Mitochondria are known as the powerhouses of the cell. They are organelles that act like a digestive system which takes in nutrients, breaks them down, and creates energy rich molecules for the cell.”Notably, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is inherited solely from our mothers. So … female code powers our cells, including our brain cells.*…Let’s invest in people (regardless of age, gender, race, culture etc) to ACHIEVE THEIR POTENTIAL.

      2. sigmaalgebra

        By “things” is usually meant mechanical things. It’s mechanical toys, IMHO a LOT of fun for boys, that the thread today is pushing onto grade school girls.That medical school students are now 50:50 men:women is not really a good counterexample to the claim of girls, people and boys, things. E.g., in medicine, especially primary care, being good with people is important, and the organs of the human body are for most physicians a bit far from mechanical parts of “things”. I can believe that you are partly correct, i.e., maybe 100 years ago girls/women just would NOT want to look at an anatomy book or cadaver. And no doubt some parts of surgery are very much like working with things, e.g., the bones, plumbing of the arteries, veins, heart, liver, and kidneys, plumbing of the gastrointestinal tract, “wiring” of the nervous system, the eye as an electronic camera, feedback and control mechanisms of the endocrine system, etc. That’s examples enough, and to help this sometimes delicate audience, I’ll omit more examples!Gotta tell you: IMHO, as objective as I can be, from my own “participant observation” and more, right from the crib girls interested in people and boys, things is about as solid as anything in human psychology. Uh, ask some parents who have some of each. Or, go grocery shopping at Sam’s Club and see a shopper with two young children, 1-3, one of each, and chat with their parent and see how the children react: The girls will be all social, react, smile, try to please, try to get back a smile. The boys will be oblivious to anything social and bored unless can get them interested in something kinetic or some things — then they will be happy.Albert Broccoli understood and in one of his movies he has one of the Bond Girls trying to be nice and understand Bond ask (Russian accent) “What is it with you and moving wehicles?”. Also, there’s the old “The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys” — so they start with toy cars and later try for a Ferrari.So for this psychology, you can modify it, mollify it, bend it, find some exceptions, make some changes around the edges, but just to ignore this point is a HUGE step back into wilful and dangerous ignorance.There are a lot of girls out there with plenty of worries, concerns, anxieties, self-esteem problems, identity issues, doubts, etc. And along comes a movement for gender neutrality that insists that any recognition of any gender differences is evidence of unfair treatment. So, now some people are pushing those girls to like mechanical toys as much as boys do. That’s being really mean to the girls. My feelings about girls is to be protective of them, not push them to feel worse about themselves.But, the aversion of girls to such “things” long apparently did carry over to math, physical science, and medicine.Okay for Ada. Never want to take away credit for any real accomplishment. But what about Babbage? Then, once when I taught some of that background stuff, the book mentioned the Jacquard loom, Hollerith, and von Neumann. When I wrote some assembler, the foundations seemed pretty simple, although tedious, to me.I confess, I’ve neglected my mathematical physics. Since I did my ugrad honors paper on group representation theory, crucial in molecular spectroscopy, I’m supposed to have some understanding of symmetry. So, I really SHOULD thoroughly understand, as at Wikipedia…Noether’s theorem, each conservation law is associated with a symmetry in the underlying physics.although I doubt I ever had a prof in either physics or applied math who understood that result! Of course, that is Emmy Noether.You missed one of the bigger examples, and recent, the Kavli prize for CRISPR-cas9. And the winners are [drum roll]: Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Jennifer Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley, and Virginijus Šikšnys of Vilnius University. The first two are woman. From what I’ve read about the work, there’s no affirmative action or fostering of women there; instead, the women really had the ideas, did the work, and made it real — so did the man. Terrific.I hope the women will write an essay for grade school girls to tell them how to “do things, too” that I can’t explain, that my astoundingly brilliant wife couldn’t do, and that nearly no girls or women understand either.But, sadly I may still be correct: If those two women don’t do, or haven’t done, well in motherhood, then Darwin will make some severe decisions.I’ve heard figures about women and advanced degrees, but until I see some cross tabulations I will suspect hype based on the number of women getting MA degrees in K-12 education.But I’ve also heard figures like you quote about women in medical school. Good. My wife had a sister who had a daughter. Her parents discovered, for no particular reason, at her very competitive high school, she was first in her class. She got PBK in college and went to Harvard Law and then Cravath-Swaine. Soon she decided that that was a mistake, got an MD, and now is practicing. She is also drop dead gorgeous — her family gave me a picture of her when she was 16. She’s highly skilled socially. Good for her. But I hope she does well with motherhood. I haven’t talked with her father for a while; I should get caught up.I had a medical problem and go for follow up. One of the procedures that has done VERY well for me was done by a woman — she did great. They, nearly all REALLY nice women, REALLY good with people, even me, gave me, maybe a Valium, wheeled me to the room, and were terrific all the way. And I’ve had follow up, with a female physician. She’s been terrific. And the nurses that prick my finger, take my weight (last visit, lost 20 pounds), etc. have also been terrific. Those women are doing fine. I hope that they are also being good at motherhood. But, still, I doubt that they as grade school girls did, or their grade school daughters will, want to play with mechanical toys.But, bluntly, in medicine, especially primary care, there is a big role for being good with people and for women. That might suggest that I believe that Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna did their work on CRISPR because they were good with people. Well, being good with people can help broadly, but in the case of CRISPR I sense darned hard work on the science where what really counts are just three things, the science, the science, and the science. For being good with people, those biological molecules, even the really complicated ones, just don’t care.To me, girls from Asia, e.g., South Korea, and girls from Western Europe both appear to me in personalities, talents, interests, abilities with people, interests in things, etc. 100% from the same box with differences in hair, eyes, and skin color comparatively minor. Since the most recent common ancestor is about 40,000 years back, and since both of those girls are closer to their common ancestor than they are to each other, girls have been they way they are, whatever that is, for at least 40,000 years. Still, maybe girls in Asia are more willing to study quantum mechanics and not flutter and flit than girls from Western Europe — nature or nurture? From all I’ve seen, Asia or Western Europe, it’s a darned rare girl who wants to play with mechanical toys as much as boys do. But, again, whatever, Asia or Western Europe, the girls will have to be good at motherhood or their examples will be lost at least to biological Darwinism if not social Darwinism.I have anecdotes, and so do you. So, set aside the anecdotes. Then we are still faced with a lot of differences in outcomes in the broad averages. MDs are close to 50:50. Okay. Then we are left with two challenges: (A) Assigning the causes to nature or nurture and (B) having the women successful in “men’s work” also be successful in motherhood.For now, I’m still against pushing mechanical toys for boys onto grade school girls.

  7. Cody Gilfillan

    Fred, have you ever followed up on the KUMIITA project you backed last year? They are like 6 months behind now.