My Week In Happy: NQ Noms and Ladies That Launch

Standard

Tuesday

I’ve noticed a recent trend to revive the term Cottonpolis as an alternative name for Manchester. This refers to the textiles industry on which the city built its wealth and global economic standing.

First it was the Women’s Institute – they have a Cottonpolis branch based in Ancoats, to the north-east of the city centre.

And then just the other week a lavish new eatery opened in Manchester’s fashionable Northern Quarter, also proudly bearing the Cottonpolis title.

The restaurant is located on Newton Street, the less developed end of the Northern Quarter. Indeed, the frontage is so unimposing that I managed to walk straight past it!

Once inside, a weird optical effect also rendered @cubicgarden and @si_lumb invisible. Though later on we were successfully located by @herbkim.

The menu at Cottonpolis revolves around Japanese inspired ‘small plates’ – ideal for tasting a number of dishes – good, fresh and cooked to order.

Thursday

karen-with-tim

Proudly wearing her  Principia flight badge*

Had it broad daylight @ohlittlechief and I would have found ourselves in the shadow of the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank.

But it was 6.30pm and very dark when we arrived for a ‘Girls Night Out’ event put on by Manchester University.

Libby Jackson, Astronaut Flight Education Programme Manager at the UK Space Agency gave us a great introduction explaining how studying science – and a lot of dedication – had got her into her current role.

We then had the opportunity to try out some fun engineering tasks, including launching rockets and operating a robot arm.

But the highlight of the evening was getting a picture of @ohlittlechief posing with one of her heroes – the soon-to-be British astronaut Tim Peake*.

Tim’s launch in the Soyuz spacecraft from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, to the International Space Station will take place at 11:02 GMT on Tuesday 15 December. Read loads more about the big event here and use #BritInSpace on Twitter.

*It may not have been the real Tim Peake but a well-lit cardboard cut-out.

My Week In Happy: Why I interviewed Helen Arney

Standard

Well, “Why wouldn’t you want to interview Helen Arney?”, you might ask?

Helen Arney (Photo: Vera de Kok)

Of course she is super-smart, funny and chic, that’s undeniable. Which is why, when I was booking my tickets for Festival of the Spoken Nerd at The Lowry, I was struck by the fact that she did not have a Wikipedia page dedicated to her.

Almost a year before the gig, I’d been to a Wiki Edit workshop run for Manchester Girl Geeks by Wikimedia UK.

From this experience I learned two things:

  1. Editing Wikipedia is really pretty easy
  2. More than 80% of Wikipedia editors are male (according to some research)

What did I do with this knowledge? Pretty much nothing until I noticed that Helen Arney didn’t have a Wikipedia page.

Then I remembered something.

Fellow Manchester Girl Geek Karen Pudner (@kpudner) had created a Wikipedia page for code-breaker Joan Clarke, who worked alongside Alan Turing on the Enigma Project at Bletchley Park.

Karen started the Wikipedia page in 2013 having attended a previous Manchester Girl Geeks Wiki Edit Day.

This was the year before Joan’s contribution to the team at Bletchley Park was recognised in The Imitation Game. Since then the page has been added to and edited by dozens of other users.

If another girl geek could write a woman into Wikipedia then maybe I could give it a shot?

I was so excited by the prospect that it was with some abandon that I launched into writing my first lines of words on Wikipedia.

So I’ve made a start on Helen Arney’s page, which is currently a described as a ‘Singer stub’. If you would like to add an edit of your own I’d be extremely happy.

So, why did you interview Helen Arney?

As well as her obvious fabness (see above), I thought it would be lovely to have something that I had written to be linked to from the Wikipedia page. And reciprocal linked (of course!).

You can read what Helen had to say on physics, funnyness and frocks right here.