Did You Know?

Woman shouting

Recommendation Letter #1

To Whom it May Concern: I’m writing to recommend so-and-so for a job. Over the years, so-and-so has proved sympathetic and helpful, always taking direction well and maintaining relationships.

Recommendation Letter #2

To Whom it May Concern: I’m writing to recommend so-and-so for a job. Over the years, so-and-so has proved confident and outspoken, always influencing others and initiating tasks.

If you were the person hiring, which of those two candidates would you be

more likely to bring on board? According to a new study, you'd choose the second one. The Wall Street Journal describes the study results, which show that the language of recommendation letters not only differs depending on the gender of the candidate, but ultimately affects hiring decisions.


Do “bad girls” like gaming more, or does gaming make girls bad? That’s the question you may be asking yourself after you read the summary of new research from Yale, published in the journal Pediatrics. In a survey of more than 4,000 teens, researchers found that 51.2 percent of the teens played video games (76.3 percent of boys and 29.2 percent of girls). Of the boys who played video games, there were no negative health consequences of gaming, and in fact gaming was linked to lower odds of regular smoking. Among girls, however, gaming is linked to fighting and carrying a weapon to school.

“The results suggest that in general recreational gaming is relatively harmless, particularly in boys. This is in contrast to many previously publicized reports suggesting that gaming leads to aggression. However, the gender differences observed between gamers and non-gamers suggest that girls may be gaming for different reasons than boys.”

What do you think?  Is it the games, or the girl?


Did you know that although the Netherlands is consistently ranked in the top five countries for women, less than 10 percent of women there are employed full-time?

Dutch women live in a remarkably progressive society, by most standards, but a recent article in Slate points out that less than 4 percent of women want to up their working hours or take on a more challenging role in the workplace. The gender pay gap in Holland is one of the highest in Europe -- 25 percent of Dutch women do not even make enough money to be considered financially independent -- but because women are working only parttime, it's hard to argue that they're victims of compensation discrimination.

Meanwhile ... "studies of female happiness in the U.S. find that even as our options have increased and we have become financially more independent than in any previous time in our history, American women as a whole are emotionally less well-off than we were before. If the fight for equality in the workplace was to improve women’s wellbeing, then what are we doing wrong?"


Congratulations to Texas A&M! We were excited this week to see that Dr. Tracy Hammond, of Texas A&M’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering, has won a grant from DARPA’s Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) to design a remote system that assists in the rapid reassembly and reorganization of assault forces on the ground after airborne deployment. Hammond will develop a network of small, lightweight, wearable beacons that will replace existing methods of locating and assembling friendly units after airborne deployment, and will also make the signaling process safe so that the beacons will not give away the positions of the soldiers.


On Monday, Fast Company opened its solicitation for nominations to its “Most Influential Women in Tech” list for 2011. As its lists from past years have revealed, the magazine tends to select women from a range of tech-related mediums – from the web to media to research and business.  We hope you’ll take a moment to visit the pageor tweet with your nominations, so that the list they develop reflects all the incredible women we know who are influencing tech right now – especially in the start-up world.

Did You Know? is a brief round-up of news, events, resources, and other factoids that crossed our radar this week and we think are worth sharing. Got an interesting conversation-starter to share? Let us know.