Google’s New Building in Mountain View – Cool!

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Google’s vision for its new buildings in Mountain View is unlike anything built before it; Google describes the enclosures as “canopies,” but from the air they also look a little like greenhouses (a high-tech shading system will block the sun). Architect Bjarke Ingels says the idea is to “dissolve the building into a simple, super-transparent, ultra light membrane.” Thomas Heatherwick, who is also working on the project with Ingels, describes the approach as “a piece of glass fabric, and draping it across some tent poles.” The image also shows hundreds of oak trees, new walking and bike paths, and open space throughout the North Bayshore, a 500-acre enclave on the edge of the San Francisco Bay. At foreground is a triangular finger of land where LinkedIn is also eyeing a major redevelopment — a project that could not happen if Google is granted all of its development request.

More pics in this San Francisco Time article.

10 Facts: Women in the Workforce: U.S. Versus the Rest

From the Globalist

  1. In 1990, the United States ranked near the top in terms of women labor force participation rates in developed nations.
  2. Back then, only five nations – Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Canada and Finland – ranked higher.
  3. U.S. female labor participation peaked in 1999 at 77%.
  4. Since 1999, U.S. female labor participation has decreased for 12 out of the past 14 years, bottoming out at just under 74% in 2014.
  5. While the United States struggled to increase the percentage of women active in the workforce, European nations thrived.
  6. As of mid-2014, six European nations had female labor participation rates of 85% or higher.
  7. The leaders among OECD nations are now Slovenia, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Austria and Switzerland.
  8. The United States now only falls in the low middle among the OECD nations.
  9. Since the end of the last recession in 2009, the U.S. labor force participation rate for women has fallen by two percentage points (from 75.7% in 2009 to 73.8% in mid-2014).
  10. However, U.S. women are far more likely than their European counterparts to be employed in full-time work, and are equally likely as men to be considered for managerial positions.

 

The Ever-Growing World of College Rankings

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We don’t need more college rankings based on R&D outcomes. We need information about how well institutions educate people to better serve society, higher education’s first and most important mission (without which the other 2 – create and serve – cannot be achieved!).

There are more rankings than ever, but “they really don’t speak to the education core of an institution.”

Read the CHE article here.

Why Just Filling the Pipeline Won’t Diversify STEM Fields

Why Just Filling the Pipeline Won’t Diversify STEM Fields 1

According to this Chronicle of Higher Education article, women and underrepresented minorities seem to be more discouraged about academic careers and are seeking professional development opportunities outside of academic research.

“I realized that a large part of my work would be tied to securing a very limited amount of funding and not mentoring students or thinking about research problems,” says Ms. Poston. She was also discouraged by how long it generally takes for scientific research to be put to use, she says. “I proactively sought out professional-development opportunities that would expose me to career pathways that were outside of academic research.”

Plenty of graduate students in the sciences may feel this way, but women and underrepresented minorities, who tend to find the academic environment less supportive, seem to feel it more acutely. That means it will probably take more than a robust pipeline of prospective scientists to increase the diversity of STEM disciplines.

 

The Secret for Smart Groups: Women (I knew it all the time!)

Why am I not surprised?

The Atlantic article based on the  NYT article mentions three key findings of smart groups, one of them being they had more women in their teams. “Teams with more women outperformed teams with more men. Indeed, it appeared that it was not “diversity” (having equal numbers of men and women) that mattered for a team’s intelligence, but simply having more women. This last effect, however, was partly explained by the fact that women, on average, were better at “mindreading” than men.”

Photo source:motor-kid.com