Forbes Features Ara the Star Engineer

Many thanks to Amy Blankson for featuring Komal Singh, author of Ara the Star Engineer (Page Two Books), in her recent Forbes article about role models inspiring girls to study STEM.

“Having positive female STEM role models in mainstream media is a gift that has been decades in the making,” writes Amy.  “For women of Generation X and even part of the Millennial Generation, female role models in science were few and far between.”

With women only making up 25% of the STEM workforce, positive female role models are more important than ever. And not just for young professionals–a heartbreaking study shows that girls start doubting their STEM intelligence by age 6. Enter Komal:

Komal Singh, a program manager in engineering at Google and a mother of two . . . was shocked when her four-year-old daughter announced, “Engineers are boys!” Singh and fellow female Google engineers decided to volunteer their spare time to start changing this dynamic. They wrote Ara the Star Engineer, a first-of-its-kind picture book that features real-life engineering trailblazers from diverse backgrounds with the goal of inspiring girls and children of color to explore STEM.

The book inspires kids – especially girls and children of color – to explore STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) as it follows a 6-year old girl, Ara, on a quest to build an algorithm to solve a big problem.

During her adventure, Ara is helped by a diverse set of real-life women engineering leaders of color — a Tenacious Troubleshooter, Code Commander, Prolific Problem Solver, Intrepid Innovator. The book teaches basic problem solving & computer science concepts  in a whimsical manner along the way. Ara also includes an attached mini-booklet with a deeper tech dive, as well as online activity sheets with hands-on tech activities.

All profits from the book sales will be donated to charities encouraging women’s and girls’ participation in STEM fields. This book is not an official Google product but a grassroots, passion project of Google employees in their personal capacity striving for an equitable future for all girls.

 

Are you an author looking for a book publicist, an expert looking for a PR firm, or a small business in need of publicity? Whether you’re looking for a San Francisco book publicist or a national PR campaign, please contact Kathlene Carney for a free consultation to find out how our publicity services can contribute to your success.

Advertising, Fake News and ‘Attention Harvesting’

I just listened to the most fascinating interview on KQED-FM’s  radio show Forum, “Tim Wu On Advertising, Fake News and ‘Attention Harvesting’.” Here’s their promo copy:

Columbia Law professor Tim Wu is best known for coining the term “net neutrality” and for his research on the Internet, media and communications. His latest book, “The Attention Merchants,” looks at how advertisers have monetized public attention throughout history, from penny press newspapers to Facebook ads. We’ll talk to Wu about the book, get his take on the proliferation of fake news and explore what technology policy might look like in the Trump administration.

Wu explains that the attention merchants’ business model, targeting anyone who goes on Facebook or searches on Google  for example, takes us as its resource to harvest. It’s takes our minds, our attention, and wants us to be constantly distracted, looking at ads, losing control over ourselves. They don’t want you reading books or talking with friends or family, because that’s all wasted revenue to them.  This business model has become so pervasive in our lives, it’s starting to have profound effects on who we are and also on the underlying media. For instance, so much of the web’s content has become clickbait because that’s the only thing that can survive. It’s become a race to the bottom in terms of competing for people’s attention.

attentionmerchantsThe Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get  Inside Our Heads is receiving rave reviews:

“A startling and sweeping examination of the increasingly ubiquitous commercial effort to capture and commodify our attention…We’ve become the consumers, the producers, and the content. We are selling ourselves to ourselves.”—Tom Vanderbilt, The New Republic

“An erudite, energizing, outraging, funny and thorough history…A devastating critique of ad tech as it stands today, transforming “don’t be evil” into the surveillance business model in just a few short years. It connects the dots between the sale of advertising inventory in schools to the bizarre ecosystem of trackers, analyzers and machine-learning models that allow the things you look at on the web to look back at you…This stuff is my daily beat, and I learned a lot from Attention Merchants.”—Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing 

“Tim Wu has written a profoundly important book on a problem that doesn’t get enough— well, attention. Attention itself has become the currency of the information age, and, as Wu meticulously and eloquently demonstrates, we allow it to be bought and sold at our peril.”–James Gleick, author of Time Travel: A History 
 

The Attention Merchants should be required reading for anyone working in public relations, publicity, marketing or advertising, as well as the general public.