There’s a theme emerging for the week: women in science blogging. So we’ll kick off with that, as it allows me to cede the floor to other, better bloggers. Then we’ll continue on with the flood of other things that caught my eye. Do enjoy!
Women who write about science: “Being female just is what it is, and it happened to me when I was conceived. I had no control over it. But being a writer and a scientist? That took work. That took ambition. That took years.” (The Biology Files)
Of course scientists can communicate: “Once again, the allegation is to be the subject of discussions, this time at next month’s annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington DC. It can be found on Nature ‘s website, heard in research councils, it is even occasionally propagated by the public-engagement community, and sometimes endorsed by journalists. In response, I can only say bosh, balderdash and Bronowski, and follow with other intemperate expletives such as Haldane, Hawking and Huxley, Eddington and E. O. Wilson, not to mention, as if in a state of terminal exasperation, Dawkins!” (NatureNews) (h/t)
I’ve never been very good at hiding: “I’m not so complacent. I shouldn’t have to hide the fact that I am a woman just to be seen as a brilliant scientist or a great writer. And I am young and bull-headed and perhaps just naive enough not to hide. You might notice my looks first, but I’ll be damned if you don’t hear my words, too.” (Observations of a Nerd)
Hidden Women, Hidden Writers: “Look at the mass of discussion that was generated around ScienceOnline2011. A number of people brought up examples of great writers to emulate. Those lists all started, ‘Carl Zimmer, Ed Yong, (another male writer–Steve Silberman or David Dobbs or…well, you get the point).’ Only after that point, if the list continues, do any female names appear. Rebecca frequently didn’t make those lists, despite being widely lauded as having published the single best piece of science writing of 2010 and having reached an audience that most writers could only dream of. She never came first.” (Almost Diamonds)
Hey You Men Who Yell “Nice Tits”: STFU: “Whose battle is it? Everyone’s I’d say. Wilcox’s post has already inspired a rich conversation in the comments, one taking alongside and entwined in many ways with the comments-conversation in Clancy’s post. About halfway down, my dear friend Steve Silberman lodged a quick comment but kept it brief, he said, because he didn’t want it to become too much a male conversation. I know what he means. Yet as I said in my own hurried (but long; I didn’t have time to write shorter) comments there, I think we men should engage here, if for nothing else than to tell their fellow men, when they are being titty idiots (titjiots? something), to STFU. Even if we don’t elaborate on STFU — maybe especially if we don’t elaborate on STFU — it might inspire some self-reflection. Or at least get them to STFU.” (Neuron Culture)
Further discussion on this topic can be had at Outdoor Science. And both Silver Fox and Ed Yong have some good lists of science bloggers who also happen to be women.
Why Does Roger Ailes Hate America? “Today, here at Esquire — and only at Esquire, because only Esquire has the guts to tell you this story — we’re going to tell you about a man you need to know a little better, maybe a lot better: a man named Roger Ailes.” (Esquire)
Money, Power, Triangulation: “In these circumstances, the political incentives in a democratic society becomes how to package the policies in a way that appeals to the people but benefits the wealthy. The Republicans know how to do that. The Democrats not so much, although on the presidential level, they may have found a formula. But again, it’s at the expense of liberalism in general which, if the president decides to engage on “entitlements”, may also end any serious rationale for the Democratic party at all.” (Hullabaloo)
Chemistry: this shit’s important: “Ammonia, NH3 (Fig. 3), is a fixed form of nitrogen. That means that its bonds are breakable, and it can react with other things. Generally, it’s used to make nitrates, NO3, which is used for both explosives and fertilizer. Natural forms of fixed nitrogen are rare, but it’s found in bat and bird poo, and saltpeter. These things were some seriously in demand fertilizers before the Haber-Bosch process was discovered. In fact, The Guano Islands Act of 1856 was passed so people could claim any uninhabited, poop-covered island they found as a US protectorate. Wars were fought over poo. Really. So when Haber found a way to finally make fixed nitrogen, it was quite a big deal.” (the bunsen boerner)
“There are massive flares of stupidity and hypocrisy emanating from the environs of Seattle in the wake of the Martin Gaskell affair.” (Thoughts in a Haystack)
Substance over sweetness — another New Atheist critique gone askew: “Gnu atheism is not simply about what isn’t. Our views do find expression in specific criticisms of specific faiths, but those are just the epiphenomena of a deeper set of positive values that Asma completely misses. Certainly I will make moral arguments against religious pathologies — Catholic priests raping children is bad — and I will judge beliefs by the foolishness of their explanations — creationist dogma is utterly absurd. But to say that is the guiding philosophy of atheism is to mistake the actions for the cause. I have one simple question you can ask of any religion, whether it’s animism or Catholicism, that will allow you to determine the Gnu Atheist position on it.” (Pharyngula)
Surprised by the Degree of Surprise: “If Republicans didn’t want a higher deficit, they shouldn’t have fought so hard to make it worse. They had a choice — expensive tax breaks or deficit reduction. They made their choice, were told what the consequences would be, and are now stunned by the realization that the rules of arithmetic haven’t been suspended by the GOP’s force of will.” (The Washington Monthly)
The making of an angular unconformity: Hutton’s unconformity at Siccar Point: “If you want to really get Deep Time, places like this are where you start. Once you understand that the vertical beds below the contact were originally horizontal, the vast amounts of time required to produce this structure leap right out at you from the outcrop.. It tells a geological story that began more than 400 million years ago with the deposition of the greywackes off an ancient coastline, and continues to the present day. So far there are six chapters, detailing folding and uplift during the creation of a mountain belt; the slow death of that mountain belt as wind and water ground it away; the formation of lakes and sand dunes on a warm, arid continent during the Devonian; a further, more gentle tectonic upheaval that led to the whole sequence being tilted; and finally, a further bout of erosion that has created the Siccar Point seen by Hutton, and tens of thousands of geologists and geology students since.” (Highly Allochthonous)
Capadoccia 1: “Today, you get the first of several batches of photos dealing with one of the most magical places I’ve ever been, the Capadoccia region of Turkey.” (Mountain Beltway)