Tuesday 16 December 2014

Women's Voices

I had recent experiences of men telling me what to think - even in today's world with strong female leaders such as Angela Merkel and Hilary Clinton - and I have to wonder why so many men feel they need to tell experienced women what to think even in todays's world of supposed equality? I heard that women still earn 80% of what men do on average - which means for the rest of the year women work for free.?

In Walter Isaacson's recent book The Innovators; How a group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks created the Digital Revolution he mentions the Countess of Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron and a mathematician and writer who in 1842 wrote about a new calculating machine designed by Charles Babbage.  She wrote forecasting the digital age, "In enabling a mechanism to combine together general symbols, in successions of unlimited variety and extent, a uniting link is established between the operations of matter and the abstract mental processes." 

Babbage's machine was the first to produce abstractions from matter.  Lovelace foresaw the laptop and the smartphone. After this oddly for a hundred years nothing much happened, and then everything happened at once.  

The idea of networking computers took a while to take hold at first  - finally Tim Berners world wide web came along and showed the computer was really a gateway to the global information system that would become known as the internet.  Berners championed the freedom of the net but may have made a mistake. The link system when you click on a link takes you to another page - was one way and did not send a signal back.  If it had, it would have been a simple matter to impose a system of micro payments, a fraction of a penny per click and the devastation of the music, publishing, newspaper and countless other industries need never have happened.  
The question then remains do the big internet companies need restriction set on them? 

Some young women writers at Edinburgh below.
Leigh Bardugo and Maureen Johnson
Rhiannon Cosslett
Holly Baxter