What’s next? Donating the proceeds from sale of his unicorn?

A blistering explanation of what’s sexist about the backlash against the response to Tim Hunt’s day out by medical doctor Amy Tuteur.

Tim Hunt made offensive comments about women scientists in front of a group of women scientists. He apologized and he resigned.

Many men feel very bad about this.

No, not bad about the fact that Hunt felt free to humiliate women at a meeting designed to honor them. Be serious! They felt bad that any male scientist should be held to account for his not so subtle put down.

[Read more…]

Church fires

An AME church burned to the ground last night in Greeleyville, South Carolina. It was burned down once before, twenty years ago. An anonymous fed told reporters the preliminary indications are not arson.

The predominantly African American congregation is more than 100 years old. Their church building had previously been burned to the ground in June 1995, almost exactly 20 years before Tuesday’s blaze.

Two young white men with ties to the Ku Klux Klan were arrested in connection with the fire, according to documents from House Judiciary Committee hearings held in 1996. The men were members of the KKK during the time of the burnings, but since renounced their membership, their lawyer said.

Arrested but not tried or convicted? The Post doesn’t say. [Read more…]

Quite the rabbit hole

Phil Plait says ALL the things.

He starts with Tim Hunt’s day out.

He made a series of sexist comments, saying that the problem with “girls” in science is that they fall in love with the men, the men fall in love with them, and when you confront them they cry. He then went on to suggest labs should be single-sex.

He thought at first it was a very bad joke, but found there’s more to it than that.

Many science journalists were at the lunch and witnessed the whole thing, including Deborah Blum, Ivan Oransky, Charles Seife, and Connie St. Louis. After discussing what they saw and heard, they decided St. Louis should write an article about it on her blog at Scientific American. What’s very important to note here is that both Blumand Oransky have corroborated St. Louis’s report, multiple times. Seife did as well. Blum asked Hunt about his comments, and he confirmed that he thought women were too emotional to work with men in labs. [Read more…]

Thankfully former

Tim Fenton at the blog Zelo Street has, like me, been watching the obsessive bullying by Louise Mensch of anyone who reported on Tim Hunt’s crappy sexist “jokes” at that fateful lunch in Seoul.

[A]s the first paper to indulge in whataboutery over Hunt’s comments was the Murdoch Times, it should surprise no-one that (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch has gone off on one about the story – and is still at it, two and a half weeks later. “He said it in a very lighthearted manner with no outward hint of malice, condescension, or derision” she claims of Hunt’s remarks, omitting that this was someone’s opinion, delivered after the event.

He shares a lot of her rude, aggressive, imperious, threatening tweets – a lot yet they are a fraction of the number she has sent. Stuff like this –

[Read more…]

If a highly respected and liked Nobel Laureate can say it

Something Hilda Bastian said in a comment on Dorothy Bishop’s post on the media spin of Tim Hunt’s day out.

The differences here do not seem to be so much “what” was said, but whether or not it was meant to be “self-deprecating.” And that is rather beside the point. The statements included some extraordinarily hurtful stereotypes about a gender, and about one gender in the scientific workplace. That sends a message, if a highly respected and liked Nobel Laureate can say it, then there’s something ok with it. The outpouring of both sexist, misogynist, and now racist statements across the comment streams of newspapers and the internet generally, with people clearly thinking they have some kind of common cause with a Nobel Laureate, proves the point of how harmful social sanction for sexist remarks can be. That’s not less so if it’s a joke, and not less so if they are not intended to be malicious. Saying afterwards “hey, just kidding!” doesn’t make it alright.

All of that. This whole phenomenon of people raging about feminist lynch mobs is yet another bit of social sanction for sexist remarks (and sexist diatribes and sexist rants and sexist lectures). I’m not as depressed and disgusted as I might be, because there are a lot of excellent people pushing back against the sexism…but I’m still pretty disgusted by how quick people are to attack feminism while denying obvious sexism. [Read more…]

Call him a cynic

One of those think-pieces that just don’t need to be written…by Charles White, Deputy Editor of The Tab Durham.

Last week saw a landmark moment as LGBT and straight people celebrated equal marriage in America and another year of Pride –– just by changing profile pictures on Facebook.

You must have seen the rainbow photos which started appearing on your newsfeed from Saturday. If you’re straight you can add the colours to your profile and everyone will know you’re down with Pride.

Call me a cynic, but how long do you really think these pictures will stay up? In a few days, they’re bound to disappear –– one by one, Rainbow filters will be replaced by Instagram Valencia again.

[Read more…]

Illustrious company

Even someone who writes for the Telegraph thinks it’s bad and revealing that people are saying Tim Hunt did nothing wrong. Cathy Newman is a presenter for Channel 4 News and she thinks the “nothing wrong” claim is full of wrong.

[A] week after the pro-Hunt bandwagon really started to gather speed, broadcaster and writer Jonathan Dimbleby has leapt aboard and resigned his honorary fellowship at University College London in protest at its treatment of the Nobel prize-winning scientist.

He’s in illustrious company. The mayor of London Boris Johnson and fellow scientist Richard Dawkins have already publicly accused Sir Tim’s critics of a gross over-reaction.

So have Brian Cox and Brendan O’Neill. [Read more…]

Patients can be tricked into feeling better when they’re actually not

Originally a comment by latsot on Ask the rocks.

The placebo effect is real, no disputing that. It’s weird, it’s complicated and it’s wonderful. There’s no doubt that it’s helpful, sometimes.

But let’s be clear, it ain’t gonna cure your broken leg, your cancer or even that ache in your knee that everyone older than 40 gets on a Monday morning that makes them think about phoning in sick. That might just be me.

And let’s be doubly clear: many if not most of the advocates of things that are really placebos are trying to persuade vulnerable people that whatever horrible thing they are desperate to have cured can be cured by snakewater. Lots of people die because of it. [Read more…]