What’s a Modern Girl to Do?

Maureen Dowd wrote a long article in this weekend’s New York Times magazine about the changing attitudes of women in America: What’s a Modern Girl to Do?

Although she sometimes sounds like the fluff pieces in women’s magazines, Dowd also writes thoughtfully about being a career woman in 21st century America. She cites a study by Sylvia Ann Hewlett in 2002, which found that 55 percent of 35-year-old career women were childless. And while 80% of male corporate executives had children, only half of women executives could manage both job and kids.

“Nowadays,” [Hewlett said], “the rule of thumb seems to be that the more successful the woman, the less likely it is she will find a husband or bear a child. For men, the reverse is true.”

Adding insult to injury, British researchers say that women with high I.Q. scores have a harder time marrying. While a 16 point higher I.Q. score increases a man’s chance of marrying by 35%, the same increase reduces a women’s chances by the same amount.

As actor Craig Bierko puts it:

“Deep down, beneath the bluster and machismo, men are simply afraid to say that what they’re truly looking for in a woman is an intelligent, confident and dependable partner in life whom they can devote themselves to unconditionally until she’s 40.”

The RFID as Mark of the Beast

A pair of Christian authors have written a book about RFID technology in which they suggest that the radio tags are actually the Mark of the Beast. They’re apparently most worried about RFID tags that can be implanted subcutaneously.

“We’re both Christian and it’s in the Bible,” said Ms. McIntyre […]

The Bible specifies that the mark of the beast will appear in the right hand or forehead, both impractical sites for human implants […] And as the authors concede in “Spychips,” the Bible says the mark is 666 and “we’re not sure how the 666 part fits in.”

The Monty Python theory of Intelligent Design

Monty Python’s flying creationism

Last week in a Pennsylvania courtroom… [Michael Behe] offered a number of interesting criticisms of Darwinism. But it’s impossible to focus on any of these criticisms, because they were so completely overshadowed by the brontosaurus in the room: ID’s sophomoric emptiness.

What makes Behe’s non-explanation a brontosaurus rather than an elephant is its resemblance to a famous Monty Python sketch in which a television newsman interviews a theorist…

Harry Potter and the Dot Com

Pity poor J. K. Rowling. While sales of her Harry Potter books has made her richer than the queen, it’s also put her under incredible pressure to keep her addicts … er … readers happy. And now to add to her stress, she is also solely responsible for keeping online shopping viable.

Amazon.com just reported its third quarter profits, which declined slightly. They also reported that sales of the Harry Potter book boosted Amazon.com revenue by 27 percent!

That kind of meal ticket is hard to give up. I predict that Harry’s adventures will cause his grades to tumble, forcing him to stay at Hogwarts for at least a few more years.

Grow Some Testables

Slate has been following the “Intelligent Design” trial in Dover, PA this week: Grow Some Testables – Intelligent design ducks the rigors of science. They break down the main thesis of ID like this:

So here’s what ID proponents are offering to teach your kids: They won’t say how ID works. They won’t say how it can be tested, apart from testing Darwinism and inferring that the alternative is ID. They won’t concede it has to be falsifiable. All they’ll say is that Darwinism hasn’t explained some things.

Still, by most accounts, Micheal Behe, the leading proponent of “Intelligent Design” has been quite convincing in court. Some school board members from neighboring towns who listened to his testimony said they believe that ID is a scientific theory. Of course, they had been “too busy” to listen to the testimony of prosecution witnesses last week, but hey …

That’s the problem with expert witnesses. When judge and audience have no idea what the experts are talking about, they make decisions based on which expert seems most confident or appealing. (Or whether the defendant is a star athlete). A court of law is a terrible place to evaluate matters of science.

Payday for MicroUnity

Way back in 1993, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was graduating from college, I interviewed with processor designer MicroUnity in Silicon Valley. They had lots of smart people and were doing some amazing things. They had designed a high performance multithreaded processor. They developed highly parallel multimedia applications. They were pushing the bounds of circuit fabrication, with air bridges for interconnects. And they were building their own fab line in Silicon Valley.

“If you want to talk about innovative, they were off the charts. They were looking at making major changes to the microarchitecture and fabrication techniques. They just had too many radical ideas in one package,” [said Lynley Gwennap]. “But from a technology standpoint, they had some really innovative stuff.”

Unfortunately, in the long tradition of ambitious engineering efforts, they went out of business. But this week brought news of some justification for founder John Moussouris and his engineers. Intel agreed to pay $300 million to MicroUnity to settle patent claims related to multithreading. That’s not a huge return over 15 years, considering that MicroUnity raised over $150 million in VC funding in its heyday. But it might lead to other lawsuits and payoffs over MicroUnity’s patents.