While the total number of engineering degrees earned is on the decline, the good news is that more and more people with an extra X chromosome are pursuing the degree. The number of female undergraduate engineering students has increased from 44,431 in 1979 to 72,393 in 1998. Overall, females now make up 19.7% of the undergraduate enrollment—though the percentage is higher at some schools, like MIT (42%). Numbers come from the Society of Women Engineers.
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
Some of our culture's most enduring robots appeared in the 80s. The Aliens series produced another evil android, and we saw light robot fare in the form of Short Circuit. Two of the great robots of all time also showed up: The Terminator and RoboCop.
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