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Girl Scouts Earn Merit Badges for Coding

Plus, the cost savings of electric vehicles, and "living" temporary tattoos.

by / January/February 2018

Merit Badge for Coding

A 2012 study from the Girl Scout Research Institute found that 74 percent of teen girls are interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, but the perceived gender barriers to study in those areas make it difficult for girls to find paths to those traditionally male-dominated jobs.

In response, the Girls Scouts, in partnership with defense contractor Raytheon, are launching a computer science program for girls grades six through 12, educating them in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and more. The hope is that giving girls more exposure to tech fields early on will make them more likely to stick with it as they grow up. The program will pilot in several cities in early 2018, with plans to expand nationwide in the fall. And in 2019, the Girl Scouts and Raytheon will pilot a Cyber Challenge, in which students from the program will put their coding skills to the test. Source:


According to a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), Going from Pump to Plug 2017, U.S. electric vehicle (EV) drivers can save $440 to $1,070 annually over driving a conventional vehicle. UCS looked at the costs of filling a conventional car with gas versus charging an EV in 50 big cities across the country, and compared those numbers with average fuel efficiencies for EVs and new gas-powered cars. Taking into account variations like electricity provider, rate plans and the cost of gas, EVs were found to save a significant amount of money for their drivers. In addition to fuel cost savings, EVs also cost less to maintain, as owners can forgo repairs like oil changes and replacement of spark plugs. Source:

Inked Up

While tattoos are usually no more than permanent, wearable art, engineers at MIT have developed a temporary version that could be much more. The tattoo is 3-D printed with “living ink,” composed of bacterial cells programmed with sensitivities around various compounds, and the cells are then blended with nutrients and other ingredients. The ink is printed onto a patch that then transfers the tattoo to the wearer’s skin, and the idea is that various parts of the tattoo will light up when they’re in the presence of certain compounds, for example if the wearer is in a location with toxic air quality. The tattoo’s creators also hope the concept can be used therapeutically, such as to slowly release medicine into the body over time. Source:


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Lauren Harrison Managing Editor

Lauren Harrison is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and more than 10 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.

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