Connect with us


‘I can’t remember feeling as excited about the future’: redesigning space travel for women | Guardian Careers

Voice Of EU



“Remember when Nasa sent a woman to space for only six days and they gave her 100 tampons and asked will that be enough?” So goes last year’s viral TikTok referring to astronaut Sally Ride being asked by Nasa engineers in 1983 whether 100 tampons would be sufficient for her week-long stay in space (she was not actually sent with them).

Recalling the incident some years later, Ride, America’s first woman astronaut, said: “There were probably some other, similar sorts of issues, just because they had never thought about what kind of personal equipment a female astronaut would take.”

The satirical TikTok clips perhaps serve as a reminder that, 38 years on, oversights can still happen when women are underrepresented. After all, only 11% of the astronauts who have ever made it into space have been women.

But things look likely to change. In February, the European Space Agency (ESA) launched its first recruitment drive for new astronauts in 11 years, emphasising women applicants and those with disabilities (it recently extended the deadline). Nasa is reportedly planning to change rules on astronaut radiation limits, which are currently preventing female astronauts doing as many missions as their male counterparts. And as the US space agency gears up for its historic Artemis moon mission, which aims to see the first woman and person of colour land on the moon, it is a good time to understand just how much diversity affects innovation.

Tara Ruttley, associate chief scientist for microgravity research and adviser to the chief scientist’s office at Nasa, has witnessed a culture change at the biggest space agency in the world. When she started 20 years ago, she was one of only three women in her engineering group. Today, women make up around a third of employees, and represent 24% of those in science and engineering roles. “I think we all are aware of all the important stuff that comes out of diverse teams. When at least one team member has traits in common with the end user they’re designing for, then of course the product will have better innovation. It’s common sense. But how many teams of men have been put together to design something for women’s use?”

Data collection has resulted in improvements, for example, it has led to a recent modification to the toilets on the International Space Station to be more comfortable for women users (“they provide … let’s just say, a better suction,” says Ruttley). But when the datasets for female astronauts are so tiny – of the 566 people who have been into space, only 65 have been women, and much fewer have been people of colour – how can they help inform design and modifications?

Luckily, Ruttley explains that even small datasets can tell us a lot. “It’s small, but we do have enough data that tell us things like women have more challenges with something called ‘orthostatic intolerance’, which refers to the questions of why women tend to lose more blood plasma volume in space than men.”

Now data has revealed this discrepancy, more research will be carried out and ultimately countermeasures will be designed to support women in this situation.

To enhance the datasets, Nasa can also recreate space conditions here on Earth. She explains how studies like bed-rest, used to monitor volunteers who lie in bed from anywhere from a month to several months, help to simulate long-term microgravity. This allows data to be drawn – which sometimes looks at gender differences. Other studies also tell us of what appear to be advantages for women in space – women regularly outperformed men in situations that required withstanding prolonged isolation, while a 2014 Nasa report noted that hearing sensitivity declined more rapidly over time in male astronauts.

It might be worth noting that this data can also better serve men, making space technology work better for everyone. Ruttley says they are studying “changes in the brain and the eyeball and the fluid flow in space”, comparing males and females, as so far “women tend to do better with their vision in space”.

Over the years, initiatives and campaigns have attempted to encourage more women into the space sector. For example, the organisation Rocket Women aims to inspire women to pursue a career in space and other Stem sectors, while the Space4Women project, run by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment in Stem fields. Last year, Olay ran a Super Bowl ad campaign Make Space for Women, featuring retired astronaut Nicole Stott.

Ruttley explains that at Nasa, training now takes the form of teaching “how to have these conversations about recruiting more women and underrepresented minorities, by providing education and training across team members”.

One area of space design that has proved problematic for women is spacesuits. Emily Calandrelli, 34, is an MIT aerospace engineer, known for her Netflix show Emily’s Wonder Lab and social media presence. Her Instagram account, @thespacegal, has covered science experiments with Cardi B, for example, as well as providing facts and tantalising access into rocket designs. In one episode of her show, she tries on a cosmonaut suit while travelling in Russia. “It was obnoxiously large on me,” she laughs, “and they didn’t have any other option. That’s because in Russia they barely have any female cosmonauts at all. Most of their spacesuits are designed for the average male body, which is just way, way larger than the average female body.”

In March 2019, Nasa cancelled an all-female spacewalk because it didn’t have enough spacesuits in the right size (it went ahead later that year). As it prepares for its Artemis mission, it is also developing the exploration spacesuit and says the strategy guiding the design is for it to accommodate the “first percentile female to the 99th percentile male”.

On the need for greater diversity, Calandrelli says Stem careers need to be more accessible for low-income marginalised communities, but believes it is still a way off. “Online, it feels very much like there’s a community,” she says. “But when you go to a conference, it feels very different. You go and see a sea of white, old men. As someone who’s a woman, and of course, a white woman, I think that’s probably even more exclusionary if you are not white.”

Still, she feels confident the sector is changing, and argues that as well as the drive for more women, there should be a push for more inclusion across the board (after all, Sally Ride was more than Nasa’s tampon failingshe was the first astronaut acknowledged as part of the LGBTQ+ community) which will lead to new ideas around everything from tackling the gender pay gap in the industry to decolonising space travel, closing the racial technology gap and even what food is sent into orbit. As Calandrelli puts it, “I can’t remember feeling as excited about the future of the industry as right now.”

Source link


Bridie Connell: the 10 funniest things I have ever seen (on the internet) | Comedy

Voice Of EU



Ah, the internet. My reliable friend. I turn to it when I need to smile (cute pet videos), when I need to cry (war veterans being reunited with their kids), and when I need to destroy what’s left of my self-esteem (Instagram). There are plenty of arguments about why life would be better without it, and honestly? It probably would be. But it also wouldn’t be as funny. Here’s a bunch of things from the world wide web that never fail to make me laugh.

There’s nothing I enjoy more than people trying to make the world a better place. Particularly when they make the world better in a way they’d never intended. I can just imagine the conversations that took place in the drafting process for this campaign:

“We need a catchy and educational campaign to tackle the horrors of addiction.”

“Yes, one that shows we’re in this together, as a community.”

“One that doesn’t stereotype addicts.”

“I’ve got it!”

The result is what I believe they call a “swing and a miss.” A+ for effort, though.

If there was an award for best award acceptance speech, this would win. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is brilliantly funny (while accepting an award for being brilliantly funny) and she remains my hero.

Allow TikTok content?

This article includes content provided by TikTok. We ask for your permission before anything is loaded, as they may be using cookies and other technologies. To view this content, click ‘Allow and continue’.

Here’s one for my fellow theatre kids. This pitch perfect sketch is from comedian and writer Jacob Kaplan. Does it make me laugh? Yes. Does it make me tense every single muscle in my body and hold my breath while I try not to think about the time that 14-year-old Bridie wrote a play about the dangers of DRINK-DRIVING and also DRUGS, which inexplicably culminated in a peppy dance routine? … No comment.

Amber Ruffin is one of the most versatile and talented comedians around. I love a lot of what she does, but this song is a special favourite. Hilarious, a little creepy and downright catchy: a winning combo!

This sketch from the late 1990s sketch group Big Train still delights me. Short, sharp, silly. Please and thank you!

Allow TikTok content?

This article includes content provided by TikTok. We ask for your permission before anything is loaded, as they may be using cookies and other technologies. To view this content, click ‘Allow and continue’.

Adrian Bliss, Certified Internet Star™, is a go-to for inventive sketches (and a seemingly endless supply of costumes). Many of his skits feature historical characters, like this one about a Greek soldier inside the Trojan horse. That layer of awkwardness that the Brits do well drives this skit, and now that I’ve seen it I can only hear The Aeneid being read in Bliss’s voice: “I sing of arms and a man, innit.”

Now this, THIS is some relatable content. Don’t pretend you’ve never tied one on and woken up on a golf course/boat/gold lame suit, because I won’t believe you. Perfectly encapsulating the delight of a great night-turned great story, I give you this hungover Scotsman who woke up in the wrong house. Of course, it’s made all the better by the Glaswegian accent.

*Assumes elderly wizard voice* I have been studying and performing improv since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, so the Whose Line crew are some of my longtime heroes. This game is one of my faves, not just because it’s so funny and clever, but because the “mistake” that happens around the 2:20 mark encapsulates the joy and collaboration that good improv is all about. Oh dear, this got more earnest than I intended. Just watch it!

A masterclass in physical comedy, from one of the greats.

Last but not least, here’s a video to save for a day where you need a bit of a pick-me-up. This is my favourite of all “laughing baby” videos, a classic in a crowded genre. And sure, if we’re measuring “funny” by incisive satirical commentary or well crafted punchlines, then this is a fail – but no other video fires up my mirror neurons and makes me laugh as much as this one.

Seriously, if you watch this and don’t feel at least a little bit better, then call a cardiologist because you have NO HEART.

Source link

Continue Reading


North Korean ransomware dubbed Maui active since May 2021 • The Register

Voice Of EU



For the past year, state-sponsored hackers operating on behalf of North Korea have been using ransomware called Maui to attack healthcare organizations, US cybersecurity authorities said on Wednesday.

Uncle Sam’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the FBI, and the Treasury Department issued a joint advisory outlining a Pyongyang-orchestrated ransomware campaign that has been underway at least since May, 2021.

The initial access vector – the way these threat actors break into organizations – is not known. Even so, the FBI says it has worked with multiple organizations in the healthcare and public health (HPH) sector infected by Maui ransomware.

“North Korean state-sponsored cyber actors used Maui ransomware in these incidents to encrypt servers responsible for healthcare services – including electronic health records services, diagnostics services, imaging services, and intranet services,” the joint security advisory [PDF] reads. “In some cases, these incidents disrupted the services provided by the targeted HPH Sector organizations for prolonged periods.”

The Feds assume the reason HPH sector organizations have been targeted is that they will pay ransoms rather than risk being locked out of systems, being denied data, or having critical services interrupted.

Maui, according to Silas Cutler, principal reverse engineer at security outfit Stairwell, is one of the lesser known families of ransomware. He says it stands out for its lack of service-oriented tooling, such as an embedded ransom note with recovery instructions. That leads him to believe Maui is operated manually by individuals who specify which files should be encrypted and exfiltrated.

The advisory, based on Stairwell’s research [PDF], indicates that the Maui ransomware is an encryption binary that a remote operator manually executes through command line interaction. The ransomware deploys AES, RSA, and XOR encryption to lock up target files. Thereafter, the victim can expect a ransom payment demand.

According to SonicWall, there were 304.7 million ransomware attacks in 2021, an increase of 151 percent. In healthcare, the percentage increase was 594 percent.

CrowdStrike, another security firm, in its 2022 Global Threat Report said North Korea has shifted its focus to cryptocurrency entities “in an effort to maintain illicit revenue generation during economic disruptions caused by the pandemic.” For example, consider the recent theft of $100 million of cryptocurrency assets from Harmony by the North Korea-based cybercrime group Lazarus. But organizations that typically transact with fiat currencies aren’t off the hook.

Sophos, yet another security firm, said in its State of Ransomware Report 2022 that the average ransom payment last year was $812,360, a 4.8X increase from the 2020 when the average payment was $170,000. The company also said more victims are paying ransoms: 11 percent in 2021 compared to 4 percent in 2020.

The advisory discourages the payment of ransoms. Nonetheless, the FBI is asking any affected organization to share information related to ransomware attacks, such as communication with foreign IP addresses, Bitcoin wallet details, and file samples. The advisory goes on to suggest ways to mitigate ransomware attacks and minimize damage.

Last month, the US Justice Department outlined its Strategic Plan for the next four years and cited enhancing cybersecurity and fighting cybercrime among its objectives. One of its key metrics for success will be the “percent of reported ransomware incidents from which cases are opened, added to existing cases, or resolved or investigative actions are conducted within 72 hours.” ®

Source link

Continue Reading


Revolut banks on Stripe tech to expand payments globally

Voice Of EU



Soon to launch in Mexico and Brazil, Revolut joins a long list of Stripe users including N26, Ford and Spotify.

Revolut will now use Stripe’s financial infrastructure platform to power its payments in the UK and Europe.

Stripe’s international reach is also expected to accelerate the global expansion of Revolut, helping it enter and grow in new markets. The UK neobank is soon planning to launch in Mexico and Brazil.

With this latest partnership, Revolut joins a long list of tech companies that have turned to Irish-founded Stripe to power payments, including German neobank N26, Swedish fintech Klarna, US carmaker Ford and streaming giant Spotify.

“Revolut builds seamless solutions for its customers. That means access to quick and easy payments and our collaboration with Stripe facilitates that,” said David Tirado, vice-president of business development at Revolut.

“We share a common vision and are excited to collaborate across multiple areas, from leveraging Stripe’s infrastructure to accelerate our global expansion, to exploring innovative new products for Revolut’s more than 18m customers.”

Founded in 2015, Revolut has become one of Europe’s biggest fintech start-ups. The London-headquartered company now offers payments and bankings services to 18m customers and 500,000 businesses in more than 200 countries and territories.

Last month, the fintech made its debut in the highly competitive buy now, pay later market in Europe, with roll-out starting in Ireland. It also revealed this week that it is moving into in-person payments, launching a card reader for businesses in the UK and Ireland.

“Revolut and Stripe share an ambition to upgrade financial services globally. We’re thrilled to be powering Revolut as it builds, scales and helps people around the world get more from their money,” said Eileen O’Mara, EMEA revenue and growth lead at Stripe.

Even though Revolut has 1.7m customers in Ireland and is rolling out banking services here, the fintech is set to face stiff competition from Synch Payments, a mobile payments app venture from some of Ireland’s pillar banks. Synch recently took another step towards launch by picking a technology partner for its app.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Source link

Continue Reading


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!