From The Editor

“A new male CEO came in and took the males out to lunch to talk about?—?wait for it?—?working with the women. I found out when the new CEO called me to tell me the outcome of the lunch and that the men asked that the women be ‘nicer’.”

The above quote is from a March 16 to18, 2016 three-part series of Crikey articles on women in tech by Bernard Keane, Crikey Politics Editor. This series quotes a range of Australian statistics and comments (positive and negative) from interviews with  male and female practitioners. Further STEM statistics appear in March 2016 articles in The Conversation and The Mandarin, giving the Academic and the Government perspective. See below, The Women in STEM Problem Worsens.

On an international level, some hopeful news on women in STEM comes from a Syracuse University study reported in a  March 17 2016 ScienceDaily article. “The researchers hope that the promising results of this multiyear study will encourage the peer-led model to become more widely implemented among first-year students, ultimately broadening participation in STEM fields and diversifying the scientific community.” See below, Students as teachers effective in STEM subjects.

Our February 2015 article, How Not To Go Digital, reviewed some recent warnings on taking the wrong approach to digitalization. Now this message is reinforced in a March 17 article in The Conversation, which notes:

“Big Data is being misunderstood, and this is limiting our ability to find meaningful answers to our questions. Big Data is not a replacement for traditional methods and questions. Rather, it is a supplement.” See below, Size doesn’t matter in Big Data, it’s what you ask of it that counts.

Another area where traditional methods and questions are giving the wrong answers is reported in a March 3 2016 article in The Mandarin by Reg Coutts, former authority member of the Australian Communications and Media Authority and professor of telecommunications at the University of Adelaide. The article notes that since October 2015 telecommunications companies are required to store “metadata” for a minimum of two years. Since then, 61 government agencies that have applied to be able to access telecommunications data without a warrant. The author gives a chilling account of misuse in legal cases and cautions: “envisage the explosion of misinformed inferences from such data if made available to some 61 government agencies often for civil consideration now under consideration by the Australian government.” See below, Metadata misuse and why agencies are overconfident, for an extract and link to the original, including a video and detailed analysis.

Current Issue

Articles in the current Issue cover:

The Women in STEM Problem Worsens

“But despite industry rhetoric about “moving in the right direction”, the proportion of women in tech is getting worse, not better.”

Students as teachers effective in STEM subjects

“researchers are finding that higher levels of academic success may be achieved by adopting an alternative pedagogical model, one which has a recent student teaching fellow students.”

Size doesn’t matter in Big Data, it’s what you ask of it that counts

“The problem is that Big Data hasn’t yet changed the way many researchers ask scientific questions.”  

Metadata misuse and why agencies are overconfident

“In some cases such unchallenged ‘evidence’ has been in my opinion highly prejudicial of the case.”



QESP, ACS, PMI Sydney Chapter after-hours networking event 7th April

A joint QESP, ACS, PMI Sydney Chapter after-hours networking event will be held at the Menzies Hotel, Sydney Room on  7th April. The event will feature a presentation from 6 to 7pm, followed by drinks, finger food and social networking from 7 to 8. The presentation, Data driven future, will be given by Anne-Marie Elias Chief Disrupter Design Innovation, UTS.

Anne-Marie’s focus is on empowering government, NGO and communities to leverage the innovation, entrepreneur, start-up and tech ecosystem to solve tipping point problems. She is the Chief Disrupter for Social Change and Associate for the Institute for Public Policy and Innovation.

PMI and ACS Members can earn 2 PDU’s or CP Hours

Event Prices (Inc GST)

Non Members:   $40

ACS, PMI and  QESP members $20

Students or seniors $20.

Tickets are purchased through Eventbrite. Please follow the link below to purchase your ticket.

Purchase Ticket



Quote of the Day

“The only thing that gives an organization a competitive edge…is what it knows, how it uses what it knows and how fast it can know something.”–  Laurence Prusak

Quote from Yesteryear

“On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], ‘Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?’ I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.” ? Charles Babbage


Ted Smillie

QESP Chairman