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A quick glance at the lineup for Variety's annual "A Night in the Writers' Room" event turned up something a little odd: It was almost entirely men.

The event, to be held in West Hollywood on June 14, features some really great, talented people working in TV right now. Writers from shows like "The Americans," "Black Lightning," "Atlanta," and "The Good Place" are all slated to appear, a veritable who's-who of TV talent. But of the 12 writers scheduled to appear, 11 of them are men.

Writer Wendy Molyneux ("Bob's Burgers") noticed this, tweeting, "I guess what you'll find in the writers' room is over 90% men!"


A number of the scheduled writers offered to give up their spots on the panel to make room for women, which really was a nice gesture.

"The Good Place" writer Michael Schur (who goes by "Ken Tremendous" on Twitter) tweeted that while he didn't know who else was scheduled to appear at the event, he thought it'd be appropriate to replace him with "any one of the dozens of women who should be part of any event like this." David Shore ("The Good Doctor") concurred, saying that he notified organizers he was "happy to be replaced."

Twitter user @WintryMixALot replied to Schur, writing, "Dude, I love you, but you seriously accept invites to be on panels without asking who else will be on them? If you care about representation please stop doing that." In a follow-up tweet, Schur committed to doing that moving forward.

To its credit, Variety responded to its, er, lack of variety when it came to organizing this event.

"On behalf of Variety, we apologize for the egregious oversight regarding the lack of female writers participating in our upcoming A Night in the Writers' Room event," was posted on Twitter, adding Variety is "working on rectifying" the mistake.

In 2017, Variety's "A Night in the Writers' Room" event featured 10 men and two women. The 2016 event featured 10 men and three women. Now, yes, it is entirely possible that Variety had planned to make a more concerted effort to be more gender-proportionate in 2018, but based on past years, this seems to have been more business as usual as opposed to an "egregious oversight" on their part.

Lost in a lot of the social media discussion was the fact that in addition to being overwhelmingly male, the event has a tendency to be overwhelmingly white.

The 2018 event features zero women of color. There was just one (Ava DuVernay) in 2017 and one in 2016 (Misha Green). For all the outcry over the lack of gender diversity, however, not a lot was said about race.

Matt Warburton, Rob McElhenney, Marc Maron, Bill Lawrence, Matthew Carnahan, and Variety chief television critic Brian Lowry participate in the 2014 event. Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Variety.

Director Sade Sellers rightly pointed this out on Twitter, indicating she'd love to put together another panel filled with women — including women of color.

Hopefully Variety takes this criticism into consideration as it scrambles to fix this. After all, part of what makes panel discussions so interesting is hearing from people with wildly different backgrounds having a conversation about their different upbringings, perspectives, and how that fits into their work. That kind of conversation can only happen with a diverse panel.

Now, you may be asking yourself why stuff like this even matters. After all, it's just a panel. There's more to it than that.

"When they can't even manage tokenism, then you know they really don't care," says Nell Scovell, a writer whose credits include "Late Night With David Letterman," "The Simpsons," and "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch."

Scovell gets to the heart of the matter: These types of prestigious industry panels send a message to aspiring creatives and viewers about who their product is actually for. "These panels should reflect the audiences and women are just as interested in highly-paid, creative jobs as men. Maybe even more."

Nell Scovell (left) speaks with Oscar-winning actress Patricia Arquette during a 2016 event put on by Vanity Fair. Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Vanity Fair.

Molyneux touches on what kind of impression it makes when there's a lack of diversity in representation. If there's hope of keeping fresh talent interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry, the industry needs to take a few small overtures in their direction. The problem has an easy solution: Don't be a jerk.

"'Don't be a d-bag' is the lesson of our time, right? Before you announce your panel, look at your roster and ask yourself: 'Am I about to be a d-bag?' says Molyneux. "I mean, if your panel is 91.67% male — and please have a man check my math — maybe get on the pink phone & ring up some girls. We all live in a big house together so we can sync our menses, so you’re bound to get SOMEONE. Under his eye," she finishes, jokingly.

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

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You could say Marine biologist, divemaster and National Geographic Explorer Dr. Erika Woolsey is a bit of a coral reef whisperer, one who brings her passion for ocean science to folks on dry land in a fresh, innovative and fun new way using virtual reality.

Images courtesy of Meta’s Community Voices film series

Her non-profit, The Hydrous, combines science, design, and technology to provide one-of-a-kind experiential education about marine life. In 2018, Hydrous produced “Immerse 360”, a virtual underwater journey through the coral reefs of Palau, with Dr. Woolsey as a guide.

Viewers got to swim with sharks, manta rays and sea turtles while exploring gorgeous aquatic landscapes and learning about the crucial role our oceans play—all from 360° and 3D footage captured by VRTUL 2 underwater storytelling VR cameras.


Hydrous then expanded on the idea to develop two more exciting augmented adventures using Meta Quest 2 technology: “Expedition Palau,” a live event where audiences can share a “synchronized immersive reality experience”, which includes live narration from Woolsey, and “Explore,” a “CGI experience” to enjoy the magic of the ocean at home.


www.youtube.com

“I’ve been extremely fortunate to explore and study coral reefs around the world,” Woolsey said, sharing that it was “heartbreaking” to see these important habitats decay so rapidly while the latest scientific reports did not clearly lead to widespread compassionate action.

“How do we care about something we never see or experience?” she reflected. As she discovered, virtual reality would be a powerful solution for eliciting empathy. “VR has the ability to generate presence and agency and make you feel like you’re there. It's that emotional connection that can bridge scientific discovery and public understanding”

The combination of virtual reality and the ocean’s natural breathtaking beauty is, as Woolsey puts it, a “match made in heaven” for getting people more engaged in ocean education. “When you’re floating you can look up and down and all around you…seeing a school of fish surrounding you and reefs in these cathedral-like structures. Rather than watching a video of a scientist, you get to become the scientist.”

Hydrous also has special kits to provide middle school students hands-on learning about ocean life. In addition to a journal, activity cards and a smartphone VR viewer, each kit includes lifelike 3D printed model pieces of a coral reef so that middle school students can try building their own.

These reef models even turn white when temperatures rise inside the aquarium, which mimics the real “bleaching” that corals endure when they die due to higher than normal ocean temperatures. Students really do become scientists as they figure out how to bring color back to their reef.

While it’s true that the health of our oceans affects us all, the growing threats our oceans face—pollution, overfishing, climate change—don’t always affect us on an empathetic level. Through the use of technology, Woolsey has created an innovative way to connect hearts and minds to one of the Earth’s most important resources, which can inspire real and lasting change.

“We can’t bring everybody to the ocean, but we’re finding scalable ways to bring the ocean to everyone.”

To learn more about Hydrous, click here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


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