'Lemme tell you about my trouble with girls ...' Er, please don't, bro-ffin

Plus: Jack bids a fond, willy-waving farewell to 'selfless leader' Dick

Angry-looking cat. Pic by  Guyon Morée from Beverwijk, Netherlands. licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

QuoTW This week, the science world was shocked to its dorky core after one of its own attempted to tell a joke. In public.

Step forward Sir Tim Hunt and hang your head in shame.

The Nobel Laureate, who has been a Fellow of the Royal Society for nearly 25 years, royally cocked up a speech to a group of senior female boffins at a conference in South Korea, where he uttered the now infamous remarks:

Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab; you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticise them, they cry.

It got worse for Hunt as his brand of humour failed to entertain the gathered crowd, some of whom tweeted the sorry affair. After his sexist anecdotes fell flat on the audience, Hunt added that he was "in favour of single-sex labs".

Inevitably, the Twitter bubble was popped and female scientists were quick to parade their highly distracting lab outfits on the micro-blabbing site.

Hunt, meanwhile, was roasted by his peers and told to resign from his post at University College London.

In an Observer puff piece with the biochemist and his wife Prof Mary Collins this morning, Hunt claimed he had been "hung out to dry". While Collins said that her husband was not sexist and added that he was "actually a great cook".

Well, that's alright then.

Elsewhere, we learned this week that fewer women are working in the digital sector than a decade ago. At least, that is, according to a report by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills quango.

Dick-swinging, bearded hipsters may be to blame for these disappointing figures. Over to Minister for Fun and sometime beard-wearer Ed Vaizey, who said it was crucial to "nurture talent" for the digital economy. Bless.

Over in Germany, an investigation into the NSA's alleged hack of Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone has been dropped because the evidence turned out to be too leaky, er, as in "not watertight".

German attorney general Harald Range said that while the accusation had been "viewed by the public as proof of an actual interception of the mobile phone of the Chancellor", there was a lack of solid proof of any wrongdoing.

US officials had apparently refused to cooperate with the probe. Range added:

There are no further investigative leads ... [shrugs] what can you do?

Here in Blighty, we finally got the chance to peer through a magnifying glass at the work of the UK's spies, courtesy of Terror Watchdog David Anderson QC.

His review of GCHQ's powers, which was published on Thursday, concluded that there was no overwhelming reason why Britain's eavesdropping nerve centre needed to stop its mass surveillance tactics.

Anderson said:

Modern communications networks can be used by the unscrupulous for purposes ranging from cyber-attack, terrorism and espionage to fraud, kidnap and child sexual exploitation.

A successful response to these threats depends on entrusting public bodies with the powers they need to identify and follow suspects in a borderless online world.

It also emerged from Anderson's report that police, spies and local authorities were worried that using communications data hoovered up under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act would potentially allow alleged crims to demand access to the same data. In turn, they could use it to show they were innocent of the crimes they were charged with.

The independent watchdog found that law enforcement agencies showed:

[M]arkedly less enthusiasm for the recently-introduced requirement of authorisation by magistrate for communications data requests.

Shome mishtake, shurely?

Meanwhile, over on Animal Farm (or perhaps some other Orwellian nightmare), The Register discovered this week that Download festival goers are set to be tagged like dawgs.

As the fest's own FAQ section of its website stated:

Every single person on site, including staff, children, RIP and VIP customers will need a dog tag to get around the festival.

The only way to get around the festival and pay for stuff is to use this system. It’s not possible to opt out of this.

Ahh, that's smellier than the armpits of 1,000 music fans.

And finally, we leave you this week with a very unsurprising exit over at Twitter. Or, as we put it in classic Vulture style when the news broke:

TWITTER CEO QUITS: Dick heads for the door, Jack's off to big chair

Twitter chief Dick Costolo confirmed he was standing down at the end of the month and the company's shares soared nearly eight per cent immediately after the big reveal. The site's co-founder Jack Dorsey, who will replace Costolo, tweeted:

Thank you for everything @dickc! You're a selfless leader who's built an amazing team and company. #proud

Proud, people. You got that, Jack is PROUD. ®




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