The Week in Women: a tech disaster, a high-heeled church, and a female mission to Mars

This week was all about women in the fields of science and technology, which is probably not a sentence you read with much frequency. The most recent news cycle was rife with stories about women doing interesting and innovative work in the STEM world, with the exception of a few headlines that made us want to crawl into bed and cry a little. Let’s take a look back, shall we?

Ninety-four-year-old fashion icon/spectacle guru Iris Apfel has signed on to become the face of a new wearable safety device called The Wisewear “Socialite” bracelet. The Socialite can track fitness and receive mobile alerts, but it can also send a distress signal to emergency contacts if a woman feels unsafe. Apfel has said that she is working to “bring [The Socialite] up to high fashion,” and hinted that “smart” necklaces and belts will also be in the works. No word yet on whether the bracelet’s technology can be integrated into enormous, Apfel-style glasses, but we would totally go for those.

And now to the dark side of tech branding. An ad for “Ili,” a translation device created by the Japanese company Logbar, has been called out for promoting sexual harassment. Ili can provide instant translations in three different languages, and has been described as the world’s first wearable translator. For some reason, Logbar decided to showcase this nifty piece of technology with a video of a British tourist named “Dean” hitting on women in the streets of Tokyo. Our mate Dean can be seen using an Ili to ask women for kisses, telling one lady that it is “very normal” in the U.K. to kiss strangers. At one point, he chases after a woman as she runs away from him. Not shown in the video is the woman frantically using her Apfel-endorsed Socialite to call for help.

For the first time, NASA’s latest class of astronauts is 50 percent female. The four women who made the cut were selected from a pool of over 6,000 candidates and endured two years of training, which involved flying T-38 supersonic jets, mastering tasks under 40 feet of water, and surviving a horrible-sounding plane ride known as the “vomit comet.” In 15 years time, the new crop of female astronauts could very well be selected for an inaugural trip to Mars, which would take them away from their homes and families for up to three years. Of course, the job comes with some perks, including a unique perspective on our little planet. “From space, you can’t see borders,” says astronaut Anne McClain. “I wish more people could step back and see how small Earth is, and how reliant we are on one another.”

In an, erm … interesting feat of architecture and engineering, a Taiwanese city has built a church in the shape of an enormous high-heeled shoe. The goal of the project is reportedly to entice more women to worship, and the church is said to include 100 “female-oriented” features, such as maple leaves (?), biscuits, cakes, and “chairs for lovers.” This Holy House of Louboutin (not the church’s actual name, though it probably should be) is sure to be a smashing success; we all know that when women’s small brains aren’t clouded with thoughts of menstruation and chocolate, they are incapable of resisting glamorous footwear in any form.

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