ACM President Wendy Hall Appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire

TOPIC: topic here in lower-case letters

WENDY HALL, innovative and groundbreaking professor of computer science at the University of Southampton, UK, has been appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for "services to science and technology." Here's the text of the news release from School of Electronics & Computer Science at the University of Southampton:
New Years Honours - Dame Wendy Hall

Professor Wendy Hall, CBE, has been appointed DBE in the New Year Honours List for services to science and technology.

One of the world’s leading computer scientists, Wendy Hall is a Professor at the University of Southampton and was Head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science from 2002 to 2007. Her influence on the development of computer science has been fundamental not only in her academic work and the many successful research initiatives in which she has been involved, but also for the large number of prominent roles she has held in the scientific and technological community.

In 2003 Professor Hall was appointed President of the British Computer Society (BCS), the UK’s leading professional body for IT. In 2005 she became the first woman to be elected Senior Vice-President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and in July 2008 she took up office as President of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the first person from outside North America to hold this role in the organization’s 60-year history.

She is a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, and a founding member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council. In November 2008 she was one of 25 European figures honoured for their contribution to Information, Communication and Technology by the EU. Among the many awards she has won is the Anita Borg Award for Technical Leadership (2006).

She is known throughout the community for her energy and vision and, in addition to her large number of commitments in areas of policy development, she continues to advance new research directions. In 2006, she was one of the founders of the Web Science Research Initiative, along with Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, Professor Nigel Shadbolt and Daniel Weitzner. They are pioneering the new discipline of Web Science, to develop a better understanding of the architectural principles that led to the Web’s growth and success, and ensure that these support the Web’s future development.

Throughout her career Wendy Hall has been a prominent and vocal advocate of women’s opportunities in science, engineering and technology. In her research and her public life she has sought to ensure that women are equal beneficiaries of technological advance, and her example of achievement and dedication has made her a distinguished and powerful role model for women. ‘I am thrilled to have been honoured in this way,’ said Professor Hall. ‘It is of course exciting for me personally and for my family, but it is also a tribute to all the people I have worked with in my career as a scientist and engineer both at Southampton and in the wider community.’

Professor Dame Wendy Hall took her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at the University of Southampton, where she met her husband Peter Chandler. They have been married for nearly 30 years and live in the New Forest.

See coverage of the announcement on BBC Technology, The Guardian, and TechRadar.com

Posted by Joyce Lewis on 31 Dec 2008.

Wendy Hall is also President of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), described as "the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society."


Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). Web site at http://www.acm.org/

Lipsett, Anthea (12/31/2008). Visionary computer scientist becomes a dame. guardian.co.uk, accessed Tues 1/6/2008 at http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/dec/31/new-years-honours-computing

Pioneer of cyberspace honoured. (12/31/2008). BBC online, accessed Tues 1/6/2009 at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7806093.stm

Web pioneer honoured by Queen: Professor Wendy Hall becomes a Dame in New Year's Honours. (12/31/2008). techradar.com, accessed Tues 1/6/2008 at http://www.techradar.com/news/internet/web-pioneer-honoured-by-queen-497490


Religion: A Force For Self-Control?

TOPICs: religion, evolutionary psychology

Prompted by a recent news release on Science Daily, I had promised myself time to blog about and review McCullough & Willoughby's recent meta-analysis article on Religion and self-regulation, due out in Psychological Bulletin.

As I sat down this evening to organize some thoughts, I was surprised (although in retrospect surely shouldn't have been) to see I'm behind the curve already, with several blogs already responding to the news release and journal article — for example, see: Tim Rees' brief critical response (Improve your self control... with religion?) at the BHA Science Group blog. Since most of the blogs I've seen, however, seem to be responding directly to the news release (or related articles, like John Tierney's of the New York Times) instead of the actual research article, it's clear there's still plenty of opportunity (and need) to look carefully at the research article itself (downloadable in pre-print pdf form from Prof Michael McCullough's University of Miami website.

And that's where I will pick up tomorrow, beginning with McCullough & Willoughby's stimulating introduction and description of half-dozen or so propositions laying out the potential connections between religion and self-regulation.

In the meantime, here are some related video comments from McCullough himself (courtesy of the University of Miami website):


McCullough, Michael (2008). Beyond Revenge: The Evolution of the Forgiveness Instinct. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, CA.

See details at Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Revenge-Evolution-Forgiveness-Instinct/dp/078797756X/ref=si3_rdr_bb_product.

McCullough, Michael E. & Willoughby, Brian L. B. (2009). Religion, self-regulation, and self-control: associations, explanations, implications. Psychological Bulletin, in press.

A pre-print pdf of this article is available from the author's web site at http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/Religion_Research.htm

Rees, Tom (1/1/2009). Improve your self control... with religion? A BHA Science Group Blog entry accessed 1/4/2009 at http://bhascience.blogspot.com/2009/01/improve-your-self-control-with-religion.html?

Religion, Self-control, and Values (1/3/2009). TS-Si News Service, article accessed 1/4/2009 at http://www.ts-si.org/the-discussion/3708-religion-self-control-and-values.html

Religion May Have Evolved Because Of Its Ability To Help People Exercise Self-control (1/1/2009). Accessed 1/1/2009 at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081231005355.htm

Tierney, John (12/29/2008). For Good Self-Control, Try Getting Religious About It. The New York Times accessed 1/4/2009 at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/30/science/30tier.html?


Disheartening Censorship

TOPICs: censorship, political correctness

Enfuriating. Political correctness run amok — watch the video below about a university student-employee's brush with his school's political-correctness police, then link over to Ed Brayton's Dispatches From The Culture Wars for stimulating comments and discussion.

We have this snippet from the minutes of the 4/1/2008 Indianapolis Faculty Council (IFC) meeting:

Agenda Item IV: Updates/Remarks from the Chancellor

Chancellor Bantz gave the following report:


Affirmative Action: The Chancellor spoke to the recent action by the Affirmative Action Office regarding staff member, Keith Sampson. He stated there was no question there was a mistake in sending the first letter. The second letter sent withdrew the first letter and made clear there was no finding in the case and therefore, nothing placed in the staff member’s file. This is not a matter of litigation. He intended this spring to begin a review of the office procedures. At the end of this month, an external reviewer will look at the office and procedures. He agrees the office needs to be more successful in a number of places. The search continues for the new Director of Equal Opportunity. When the report is received for that office, it will be reviewed by the IFC which will show the number of cases the office reviews each year.

All of which seems reasonable. Later in the same minutes, however, the circumstances are referred to as "the Keith Sampson issue," which unfortunate phrasing suggests a continued institutional mis-apprehension and mis-interpretation of the fiasco entire event.

Moreover, apparently the Affirmative Action Office at IUPUI was reconstituted as the Office of Equal Opportunity (although publicly accessible records are not necessarily clear on this — did the OEO already exist previously?) with director Kim D. Kirkland and now … Assistant Director (!) Marguerite Watkins, who says on her staff directory web page that "My passion includes educating people."

Sadly, a Google-search of the IUPUI website produces only the single page hit for "Keith Sampson" (the IFC minutes quoted above).


Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Web site at http://www.thefire.org/

Indianapolis Faculty Council (IFC) Minutes dated April 1, 2008. Accessed Sat 01/03/2008 at http://www.iupui.edu/~fcouncil/minutes/Minutes_IFC_4-1-08.htm

IUPUI: Indiana University - Purdue University, Indiana. Web site at http://www.iupui.edu/

Proposed Resolution for the Review of the Affirmative Action Office, Agenda Item X of the Indianapolis Faculty Council (IFC) Minutes dated April 1, 2008. Accessed Sat 01/03/2008 at http://www.iupui.edu/~fcouncil/documents/ProposedResolutionAAO2008.htm.

Saha, Abhishek (5/2/2008). Keith Sampson round-up. Accessed Sat 01/03/2009 at http://musefree.wordpress.com/2008/05/02/keith-sampson-round-up/

Watkins, Marguerite. IUPUI Staff Directory Webpage at http://www.iupui.edu/~oeo/directory/watkins.html


Generating Ideas for Research —
Post & Discussion on Thus Spake Zuska

TOPIC: research ideas

Check out the stimulating post and discussion at Suzanne Franks' Thus Spake Zuska on the challenges of generating new ideas for research. Thought-provoking and motivating.

And keeping track of ideas … that's a serious challenge as well, requiring (1) some habitual "system," and (2) the regularly available energy to use one's system.


Gay Adoption Ban in Florida: UPDATE?

TOPICs: GLBT, adoption

Some recent articles floating around online implied we might hear/see something in the near future from Florida's State Supreme Court on that state's ban on adoptions by gay couples. But the recent article by Janine Zeitlin and a Law Blog article by Dan Slater appear to just be recycling old news with nothing new to add.

I did find this bit of news, however, on the Martin Gill-related ACLU site:

On December 5, 2008, the ACLU and the children's lawyers filed a request seeking to expedite the appeal by bringing the case directly before the Florida Supreme Court. The request for an expedited appeal was subsequently denied.

An hour of my life lost on various searches has led to no other official information about the continuing court case of Martin Gill and his two adopted sons. (I ended my searches after looking through the Florida Third District Court Of Appeal site . . . if anyone can point me to better/more information, please do! )

Here's a brief youTube video from acluvideos:


ACLU website: http://www.aclu.com/


A challenge to Florida's ban on adoption by gay parents. ACLU website for miscellaneous information related to the Gill case, including a link to a PodCast featuring Martin Gill. Accessed Thurs 01/01/2009 at http://www.aclu.org/lgbt/parenting/37875res20081124.html

Slater, Dan (12/29/2008). Same-sex adoption debate rages on in Sunshine State. The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog on WJS.com. Accessed Thurs 01/01/2009 at http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2008/12/29/same-sex-adoption-debate-rages-on-in-sunshine-state/.

Zeitlin, Janine (12/27/2008). Florida high court to rule on same-sex adoption ban: Florida has only ban in U.S. news-press.com. Accessed Thurs 01/01/2009 at http://www.news-press.com/article/20081227/SS08/812280386/1002/NEWS01.