There has been recent news of a curious quirk of the Apple iPhone 4s. If you have one of these phones you can ask Siri, its anthropomorphized virtual assistant, a question and “she” will give you an answer in her robotic voice. Where’s the nearest Thai restaurant? Siri knows. What’s the weather today? Siri will tell you. Siri seems practically omniscient. The one question Siri seems not to comprehend is, “where is the nearest abortion clinic?” Siri couldn’t come up with an answer, leading some pro-choice organizations and bloggers to wonder if Siri (and her creators) intentionally bollixed it up for ideological reasons.
An Apple spokeswoman has since said, however, that it is a glitch in the iPhone 4s beta program rather than a deliberate omission, and one they are working to rectify.
Take that, Larry Summers.
Israeli scientist (and grandmother!) Ada Yonath, 70, became the first woman since 1964 to win the Nobel Prize in chemistry — and the first Israeli woman ever to do so.
According to Nobel Prize selection board, Yonath, together with Venkatraman Ramakrishnan of the U.K. and Thomas Steitz of the U.S., received the award for pioneering “studies of the structure of the ribosome.”
In a profile of the scientist, published last year by the Web site Israel 21c, Yonath weighed in on the stereotype that women don’t have what it takes to succeed in mathematics and the sciences:
“Women make up half the population,” [Yonath] says. “I think the population is losing half of the human brain power by not encouraging woman to go into the sciences. Woman can do great things if they are encouraged to do so.”
… Today, plans to retire are a long way off and she is still working hard, welcoming organized groups into her lab through a program organized by a local high-tech company, El-Op. This program encourages young women to enter scientific fields by giving them a closer look at the scientific life.
“I want them to decide for themselves if they want to study science,” she says. “I would like woman to have the opportunity to do what is interesting to them, to go after their curiosity. And I would like the world to be open to that. I know in many places there is opposition to that.”