[SIGCIS-Members] real doctors, dirty pictures

Ian S. King isking at uw.edu
Fri Nov 30 13:02:16 PST 2012

The PDP-7 system that Living Computer Museum acquired from the University
of Oregon includes a significant amount of content, i.e. data from
experiments run on the system, and "other" things.  One is a picture of a
Playboy centerfold model: according to Dr. LeFevre of U of O, a student
plotted the image with graph paper and used a fairly cumbersome secondary
feature of their analysis program, that allowed the user to insert
arbitrary values into display memory.

One day, when the system seemed to have distorted output from the
experiment we've reproduced on it, I called up our centerfold as a
reference figure - and realized that Y scaling was off.  A quick tweak, and
our centerfold girl was banished back to storage - in today's PC world
(funny how that becomes a double entendre!), she is not for public

On Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 12:31 PM, Nathan Ensmenger <
nathan.ensmenger at gmail.com> wrote:

> My apologies if this comes through twice.  I am having trouble posting
> directly to the list.
> On Nov 30, 2012, at 12:43 PM, "M. Hicks" <mhicks1 at iit.edu> wrote:
> > One quibble: shouldn't they have referred to you as Dr. or Prof. Medina,
> rather than Ms.? Or is that how the NYT always does things?
> Tom has it correct about the NY Times style guides: according to them,
> PhDs aren't "real doctors" (this also happens to be my mother-in-law's
> policy, which she reminds me of not infrequently...)
> As for the inappropriate picture:
> While the inclusion in the promotional film may or may not be intentional,
> the pervasive presence of such images is, of course, not usual or
> coincidental.  I have always wanted to do a little history of the pin-up
> photo in the computer industry, with its attendant implications for the
> gendering of the computing professions:
> One of my favorite images of the SAGE system is of a test program that
> technicians ran to test the CRT displays, which produced a crude outline of
> a pin-up girl.  Here it is: [http://thecomputerboys.com/?attachment_id=482
> ]
> And, of course, there is the infamous "Lena" image, which was a Playboy
> centerfold that became the reference image for academic computer scientists
> (and others) working on image processing technologies.  It remains so to
> this day, and was just recently featured in an article in Nature
> Nanotechnology.  There is a nice little piece in the IEEE Professional
> Communication Society newsletter that details the history of the Lena
> image, although it focuses on the copyright angle, rather the sexual
> harassment issue. [
> http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~chuck/lennapg/pcs_mirror/may_june01.pdf]
> Here also is a copy of the letter that the departing editor of the IEEE
> Transactions on Image Processsing sent out in 1996 in response to the
> controversy.  He was not too concerned. He even quotes a feminist friend of
> his who was not at all offended! [http://ndevilla.free.fr/lena/]
> -Nathan
> --
> Nathan Ensmenger
> Associate Professor of Informatics
> School of Informatics and Computing
> Indiana University, Bloomington
> homes.soic.indiana.edu/nensmeng/
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Ian S. King, MSCS ('06, Washington)
Ph.D. Student
The Information School
University of Washington

"Be yourself, everyone else is already taken."  - Oscar Wilde
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