In the early 80’s, personal computers were a new innovation. Films like WarGames made it seem as if a kid with a keyboard could hack into anything: a school or corporate mainframe, NORAD, the US nuclear arsenal or your neighborhood bank. Hoping to capitalize on this, in 1983 CBS premiered a show which could have been considered WarGames’ intellectual successor. It featured a group of resourceful kids who solved crimes by hacking and cracking, led by Matthew Laborteaux, child star of Little House on the Prairie, and advised by a Gavilan SC-toting, mustachioed reporter played by Max Gail, formerly of the show Barney Miller. Whiz Kids lasted only a single season: 18 episodes, but all of them live on in cyberspace, on YouTube. Complete episode links contained within. [more inside]
On British TV last night, Gail Trimble, a Classics scholar at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, singlehandedly trounced the opposing team in University Challenge. To some a smug, bluestocking know-it-all, to others a role model. Cue the fightback and lots of questions about whether we, as a society, actually like really clever people and specifically, clever women?.