In today’s Bulldog wrapup of science and technology news:

  • More women are learning video game design
  • Seized bitcoins to be auctioned
  • China is tracking its elderly
  • Another success for SpaceX

The details:

  • After Gamergate, female video game developers on the rise

Students from an all-female arts college in Philadelphia attended a conference for video game developers last year and, without even trying, they stood out.

“We were basically the only girls in the room,” recalled Lindsey O’Brien, 21, a risingsenior at Philadelphia’s Moore College of Art & Design.

The male-dominated video game industry is changing as more women develop games, play games and take jobs reviewing games. While the ongoing cyber harassment offemale gamers known as “Gamergate” indicates a reluctance by some to accept the growing number of women in the industry, mainstream institutions are welcoming all to the console.

Moore’s animation and gaming arts program will see its first class of game developersgraduate next year. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology created its Game Lab in 2012. New York University’s Tisch School began offering a video game design degree last year.

“There’s going to be a huge boom of women entering the industry in the next 10 years,” said Stephen Wood, Moore’s gaming arts professor, who took over the fledging program when he joined the faculty in 2014. “In the ’80s and ’90s, video games were seen as things boys do. But in the ’90s and early 2000s, girls said, ‘We’re going to play, too.’ Now those girls are going to college and studying video games. We’re helping close that gender gap and being part of the solution.”

According to a 2015 survey by the International Game Developers Association, the number of female video game developers has doubled in the past seven years, from 11 percent in 2009 to about 21 percent now. About 79 percent of the survey’s 2,000 respondents agreed diversity in the industry is “very” or “somewhat” important.

“Much dialogue has occurred in the past couple of years around the topic, (with) a strong majority recognizing that greater diversity on development teams . creates a stronger foundation for the team to create games that may maximize their global appeal,” said Kate Edwards, executive director of the association.

  • Australia to sell bitcoins confiscated as proceeds of crime

About $13 million in bitcoins will be auctioned in Sydney in June after Australian police confiscated the digital currency as proceeds of crime, an official said Tuesday.

Ernst & Young was running the process, which is only the second such bitcoin auction in the world after the U.S. Marshals Service sold 144,000 bitcoins over a two-year period that had been confiscated from Ross Ulbricht, who founded the online drug bazaar Silk Road, the accountancy firm’s transaction partner Adam Nikitins said.

Bidders can register until June 7 for the 24,518 bitcoins on offer. The 48-hour sealed auction will take place from June 20.

Based on Tuesday’s bitcoin price of $533.80, the cryptocurrency is valued at almost $13.1 million.

Nikitins expects strong interest in the auction since the bitcoin price has become less volatile after the U.S. auctions. Ernst & Young has received expressions of interest from the United States, Europe and Australia, he said.

“Over the last few months, the price of bitcoins has been steadily rising and the volatility has gone out of it,” said Nikitins, adding that was expected to lead to greater interest.

Nikitins would not say who the bitcoins were confiscated from, but said registered bidders would be told.

The Victoria state government has confirmed that is had seized about 24,500 bitcoins in late 2013 from a Melbourne drug dealer.

  • Beijing tracks the elderly as they take buses, go shopping

These days, when people over 80 in Beijing take a bus, see a doctor or spend money, their activities are digitally tracked by the government, as part of an effort to improve services for the country’s rapidly growing elderly population.

The data amassed with each swipe of the multi-purpose “Beijing Connect” old person’s card goes into a massive database of the elderly in the capital. City authorities hope the information will enable them to better cope with their burgeoning population of over-60s, which already stands at 3 million.

Though geared toward the elderly, the program demonstrates how China more broadly is using big data to better direct the use of government resources for the country’s 1.4 billion people. Beijing’s strategy is to use new technology and its heavily censored Internet to innovate and propel China’s transformation to a services-based economy — a strategy that Premier Li Keqiang has said “will trigger a new Industrial Revolution.”

In a sophisticated example, Beijing municipal government is collecting the disparate data on the elderly in order to predict what services will be needed in the future. This is to make sure it has the necessary budget and services in place, by taking into account people’s decreasing mobility, for example, said Bai Qiang, vice president of BeijingCommunity Service Association, a city government agency.

“All of the data we are collecting now, including visits to parks, the use of public transport and (numbers of) shopping trips, will help us to predict whether the elderlywill become disabled in the future,” Bai said.

The thinking is that if an elderly man is paying fewer visits to parks or taking buses less, that will show up in the data. The government can then judge what the disability rate will be in future and prepare a budget plan in advance, Bai said.

Cardholders interviewed said they weren’t concerned about a loss of privacy and praised the program as far more convenient than the coupons the government used to give them for the same services.

“I’ve no worries. Elderly people don’t have any secrets,” said Liu Huizhen, 84, who was using her card to buy steamed bread in a small supermarket.

  • SpaceX lands another rocket after satellite delivery

SpaceX pulled off another rocket landing Friday, the third in just under two months.

The first-stage booster of the unmanned Falcon rocket settled vertically onto a barge 400 miles off Florida’s east coast, eight minutes after the late afternoon liftoff. Cameras on the barge provided stunning, real-time video.

(See related video at: )

“Falcon 9 has landed!” said a SpaceX flight commentator.

The touchdown occurred after the rocket launched an Asian communications satellite. Like the last successful landing, this one was especially difficult given the speed and heat of the incoming 15-story booster.

SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk said via Twitter that the rocket’s landingspeed was close to the design maximum, thus the back and forth motion. He said it was probably OK, “but some risk of tipping.” No one was aboard the barge at touchdown for safety reasons.

SpaceX’s first booster landing actually occurred in December — on land at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The California-based company followed up with a successful touchdown on its floating platform in the Atlantic in early April, then again May 6. All three of those recovered boosters are now side by side, horizontally, in a SpaceX hangar. The second recovered booster will be tested and should fly on another mission later this year.

Musk wants to recycle boosters to lower launch costs and open space up to more payloads and people. These first-stage boosters normally are discarded in the ocean.SpaceX is the only one ever to land the stages left over from orbital missions.