My interview with Teen Skepchick

My interview with Mindy of Teen Skepchick is now online for your viewing pleasure. We focus a lot on my journey from atheism to desperate spirituality back to atheism throughout my childhood, thoughts for students and student leaders, art, sex, and a pep talk for young scientists. Some stuff I haven’t really blogged about here in depth, so go check it out!


  1. says

    Woh, that was a truly interesting interview (most interviews I read are pretty boring and support my pre-conceived ideas). Good choice on choosing biology over art btw, we need smart people studying this stuff. 

  2. Hans says

    I would note that human sex is only interesting from the viewpoint of cultural practices.  Biologically, human sex is pretty boring.  Consider orchids, which have parts in the shape of insects to convince real insects to copulate and carry pollen, thus allow the orchid to reproduce.  Or consider the angler fish, in which females are 10 times the size of the males.  Males bite on to the females eventually becoming sperm-producing parasites.  Or bedbugs, which have traumatic insemination as the sole route of reproduction.  Humans can’t reproduce by parthenogenesis, and their offspring (if twins) don’t fight or eat each other in utero.  It would be difficult to look at the mating ritual of the flatworm, Pseudobiceros hancockanus, and be impressed by the closest human approximation.Now there is a great deal of ritual and complexity to humans culturally, particularly in regards to their mating practices.  However biologically, humans are pretty dull.

  3. says

    I would like to point out that a lot of those interesting sexual practices are probably normal to them, where our sexual practice is interesting from their perspective. Our biology is very interesting if you don’t come from the perspective of already knowing about it. 

  4. Rishi says

    Yeah yeah, Jen you’ve already told us all during and before (donrememberwhenexactly) blogathon that you’re 23 *countless* times, so no need to keep reminding the rest of us who’re over 23 (I’m 25 nearly)  that you’re just 23 to make us old, unaccomplished, worthless, dingbat losers feel like, you know, old, unaccomplished, worthless, dingbat losers or atleast the rest of us who’re really.  And you bring this up under the pretext of giving a pep talk to young scientists? I mean really? And then to add ignominy to grievous injury you tell us you’re also an artiste with an “e” at the end? Oh you’ve got so much evil.

  5. psmith123456 says

    I assumed our blogger chose the word “hag” the same way gays use the word “queer”: to reclaim it from pejorative use.  The origin of the word goes back to women healers in villages, those who dealt in plants as medicines – in short, women scientists.

  6. says

    More like women naturopaths!  (grrr… my sworn enemies. Naturopaths not women, I like women and dislike naturopaths irrespective of gender, I am an equal opportunity drinker of alternative medicine haterade).

  7. says

    Not many people wear them anymore. I do however HAVE to wear one (they kick me out of class if I don’t bring one) despite the sweltering heat. My coat has short sleeves! When I finish medical school I shall get an awesome lab coat. It will be long so I can pretend to be a wizard and possibly have some cool stuff printed on it. The white coat in medicine has taken on ulterior meanings over the functionality of it. (Hint, its not functional as people think. People wear it for tradition. It’s actually implicated in spreading nosocomial infections). I primarily use mine as a way of carrying stuff. I have deep pockets so I can carry my tablet, pen, prescription pad, biscuits, candy for kids (yeah, the one job where you as a stranger are expected to give candy to kids!), steth, torch, tuning forks, pager and mobile and a drug formulary. Its less protective and a way to carry all this junk.

  8. Hans says

    I’m not sure that “women healers” means necessarily naturopaths.  There’s first a question of the appropriateness of such labels when there was no alternative scientific approach to medicine.  The second issue is whether they were in fact going with what worked, not adhering to some dodgy theory in the face of evidence that it did not work.One of the rather ironic things about *real* indigenous healers is that many readily adopt drugs and western treatments when they have access to them (sometimes with problematic consequences).

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