Level Up: what I’ve learned so far

I set up a tech mentoring scheme for young people in Iraq, Iran and Syria in August, after 200+ applications, here’s what I’ve learned so far.

Last year I went to Iraq to visit family, I stayed for 3 weeks. I hadn’t been back for quite some time, so when I saw my cousins again instead of being boisterous children who were desperate to find ice cream, they had turned to into tall and lean teenagers who wanted to talk about how much they loved Steve Jobs and Elon Musk and blockchain.

Level Up: what I’ve learned so far

Agatha Christie’s Come Tell Me How You Live

I enjoyed reading Agatha Christie’s memoirs “Come tell me how you live” which recounts her time in Iraq and Syria in the 1930s, with her archaeologist husband Max Mallowan.

Although at times it’s a bit uncomfortable, with outdated descriptions and generalisations, for the most part its a charming account of the 30s, and I did find passages which I truly appreciated reading. You get a rare window into life on the ground.

Agatha Christie’s Come Tell Me How You Live

Conference diversity is your responsibility

If you organise conferences, we need to talk.

If you have invited me as a speaker to your conference, and I am the only female or ethnic minority speaker, and for some reason I have to pull out, it is not my responsibility to find you another BME woman.

Do not make me feel guilty for screwing up your (already abysmal) gender ratio or panel diversity. Have you considered getting, heaven forbid, more than one woman or minority to speak?

This has happened to me more than 3 times now, and I am tired of it.

Conference diversity is your responsibility

Citizen Beta #23: statistics, fact checking and data journalism

It’s taken me a couple of days to recover from the brilliant Citizen Beta we’ve just had. So much to process!

We were joined by Andy Dudfield from the Office for National Statistcs, Simon Rogers from Google, John Walton from the BBC, and Lev and I showed off some recent Full Fact work.

The audience was made up of journalists, technologists, civil servants and all round amazing folk.

Citizen Beta #23: statistics, fact checking and data journalism

On learning to code

This was a blogpost I originally wrote in 2015. To my amazement, it got to the top spot of HackerNews for a few hours. 

I’m learning to code. I’ve been on again off again with it for about two years now. But I’ve only very recently started to feel like I could actually achieve something. I had a lot of unlearning and confidence building to do first.

On learning to code

Crowdsourced Fact checking

In the current climate of information overload the demand for fact checking is increasing. Factcheckers are often small teams that struggle to keep up with the demand. In recent years, new organisations like WikiTribune have suggested crowdsourcing as an attractive and low-cost way for fact checking to scale.

I believe there’s a role for crowdsourced fact checking, but (so far) it’s not fact checking. Here’s my take.

Crowdsourced Fact checking