On the talk show circuit, if there isn’t a “us versus them” crisis, they’ll invent one. After all, ratings matter, and the best ratings are gotten from the “battle of the sexes”, never mind the reality.
The latest fad, seized upon by fervent talk show hosts, academics of questionable credentials, and ideological rantists is that of the “academic gender gap” where girls are supposedly pulling ahead of boys. Crisis indeed! It must be the girl’s fault, or the school’s fault. It must be favoritism. It must be bias. Or is it?
This spring I interviewed a number of “The Tech” museum award laureates who have used technology to improve the human condition (usually extremely frugally). One of the most exciting innovators is Saeed Awan, director of the Centre for the Improvement of Working Conditions & Environment based in Pakistan. They tackled the problem of child labor in the rug weaving industry. Instead of simply outlawing the practice (which would be futile because these child laborers are the major breadwinners for their poor families), they “engineered out” child labor by developing a “improved, ergonomic and, most important, adult-friendly loom”. Coupled with economic practices (loom ownership allows bidding on lots by adults), this innovation moves the breadwinner status back to adults (primarily women) and moves children back to schools. A perfect use of technology and worthy of a “tech” award.
But where technology providers giveth, technology providers also taketh away…
Alas, “itanic”, aka “Itanium” is resurrected again, this time debuted by Intel as a “chip with two brains”. But the critics aren’t impressed, and to save money for senior management Itanium soirees, Intel middle managers are to be tossed into the cold big blue.
Well, this is no surprise to those chip-watchers who talked down Itanium from the beginning. While Dell and IBM have fled to calmer X86 waters with the likes of AMD, HP has been steadfast, selling 80% of the chips Intel has shipped.
Of course, many wonder why HP is such a firm holdout when everyone else is baling? To understand how we got where we are, we actually have to ask the question “Where did the Itanium come from?” If you think it all sprang fully formed from Andy Grove’s head, you’re quite wrong. And you’d miss the story of long-ago acquisitions, agreements, and ambitions…