December 23, 2016

A starry night. Credit: Adam Foster / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s late December, and if you’re somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere, the outside world is colder than usual - and filled with way too many terrible Christmas songs. (Is “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” stuck in your head? Well, it is now.) But, we have an antidote. Curl up in an armchair, grab yourself a mug of hot cocoa, and take a mental vacation with some fascinating stories from Innovation Hub. Or, you could listen to these stories on your wintery commute, but the hot cocoa option sounds more fun.

First up, if you’re spending the holidays with family… you’ve probably tried not to talk about politics. Listening to Uncle Jeff lay out his views on immigration, or having cousin Ruth launch into a political diatribe might not be your idea of a good time. But, politics might be on the menu, despite your best efforts. So take some advice from Stanford’s Robb Willer, and learn how to convince people you’re right.

Before virtual reality, there was a plastic, binocular-like device that filled viewers' worlds with vivid scenes. Kara Miller talks about the history of the View-Master.

Then, have you ever wondered why some of our most famous innovators - Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg - dropped out of college? Are these people just statistical outliers, or do they say something about what college really offers students? Matthew Mayhew explores how colleges can impact students’ willingness and desire to innovate. And what he found was pretty surprising.

After that, when you think about sexism in STEM fields, it can be easy to just look at the (depressing) statistics. But statistics can’t give you the full picture, and behind all the numbers are real people living their lives. Maura Appleberry, a young woman in science, tells her story:

And finally, when you think of space pioneers, you probably imagine Neil Armstrong or John Glenn. But there’s a different story about early spaceflight, one that you probably haven’t heard. It’s about women computers. Yes, women computers. Writer Nathalia Holt explains.

Matthew Mayhew, Robb Willer, Maura Appleberry, Nathalia Holt

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