Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 8.27

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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  1. ‘Earlier this year it was reported that climate change may have killed the Loch Ness Monster. There have been “no credible sightings” of Nessie for over a year. ‘

    Here are the raw numbers:
    -Credible sightings prior to 2008: 0
    -Credible sightings 2008-August 2009: 0
    Obviously something is wrong with Nessie.

  2. Sorry for the double post but I just noticed the sub-head:
    “A security guard claims to have spotted the Loch Ness monster while browsing Google Earth.”

    Does it make anyone else feel less secure to know that the security guards are looking at Google Earth instead of the security camera?

  3. @Thermy: I hereby announce the formation of your fan club!

    We shall be called: “Thermy-dynamics”

    I invite others to hurry up and join. New memberships will only be open for a short time, because “Thermy-dynamics” only works in a closed system.

  4. Apparently, a lot of people start showing signs of orthorexia nervosa after they start experimenting with alt med products. In fact, the doctor who first identified the condition is a practitioner of alternative medicine. And everyone knows correlation equals causation. I think Jenny McCarthy should get on this right away.

  5. I like the idea of a list of mindblowing fiction. It conjures images of experiments involving having subjects read the work in question and then giving them a test for altered consciousness.

    Also, I am okay with security guards watching Google Earth. It should be noted, however, that I am in a special interest group whose focus is being in places where they are not, strictly, welcome.

  6. The Sci-fi story has me wondering though.
    Clearly, the sci-fi aythor who IS in the antology should’ve just kept his trap shut, because he must have known that anything he could say would only make matters worse. But I still think he makes a good point though: The anthology is “the best stories evar according to [white male publisher X]”. And in my view, it would probably have been worse to include the single token black and/or female author just to avoid having to deal with the fallout. If he doesn’t like theirs stories, or doesn’t know them, they’re not his favorites.

    Similarly, I probably wouldn’t be very interested in a list of George W. Bush’s favorite vacationing spots, as I’m sure what he thinks is awesome looks nothing similar to what I think is awesome. I can complain that perhaps none of his vacationing spots are in Europe, but that’s because the dude is a goddamn American who’s probably only been here on work-related issues. (work being the opposite of vacation).

    I wonder if perhaps some people are a little too eager to look for things to get offended about …
    Then again, with a moniker like “Angry black bitch” or something like that, I suppose she scours the web looking for stuff to gripe about, so I may be seeing things a little out of perspective. Similar things could be said about skepchick WRT all things WOO …

  7. How can people tell that the image that was either taken from a sattelite orbiting hundreds of miles above the earth’s surface, or at the very least by an airplane flying overhead at several hundred feet above the surface, features something that’s below the surface of the water?

    From that angle you couldn’t even tell if a person was standing on street level or on the roof of a very tall building …

  8. No, clearly she has a good point in this instance. And whoever was defending the book is perhaps good at writing stories, but very bad at discussions.

    But this is never going to change unless people simply say “Hey, old white dude, I’m not buying your piece of shit book!“. He’s only making it because he’s out to make a buck. If he’s not making his buck, perhaps he’ll start to wonder where he went wrong and actually LEARN something that prevents him from giving in to his bias the next time.

  9. If you’ll go to the “monster” in Google Earth and then travel about 6 or so kilometers to the southwest, you’ll see something that’s unquestionably a boat. It, too, is white, but it has a distinctive wake, unlike that of the “monster.” My guess is that there are rocks or something submerged around the “monster” that distorts its wake. (Or, for all I know, it could be a big rock.)

  10. COMING THIS NOVEMBER-THE NOR’ EASTERN RUMBLE, THE DOGFIGHT IN DAMARISCOTTA, THE FRACAS IN FALMOUTH, THE RIOT IN ROCKLAND, THE SCRAP IN SCARBOROUGH, THE BRAWL IN BANGOR, THE WAR IN WATERVILLE! FROM AUBRUN TO YORK, FROM CAMDEN TO KEENEBUNKPORT, THIS WILL BE THE MAAAAAAINE EVENT

  11. I’m skeptical of the existence of Orthorexia as a genuine disorder.

    I see articles about it have been published in peer reviewed journals exactly twice, both times in a journal apparently called “eat weight disord” which seems to be an online journal, which raises a red flag for me.

    So far it seems the only remotely scientific way of diagnosing the disorder is by a 10 question questionnaire (http://www.skwigg.com/id8.html) whose questions ask about things that are not unhealthy (do you think about food more than 3 hours a day?) things that point to OCD (Do you sacrifice experiences you once enjoyed to eat the food you believe is right?) and the occasional question that would point to a genuine disorder (Do you care more about the virtue of what you eat than the pleasure you receive from eating it?)

    I also note that the author of the article freely diagnosis her “friends and colleagues” which is a big no-no for psychologists.

    I’m not saying it’s total B.S., but I need more.

  12. One of the things that strikes me about the SF anthology story is the notion that people pay attention to who writes their books.
    To me, an author is pretty much just an index for the quality of their books. With the exception of their name and possibly a back cover blurb, I don’t know anything about them.
    Case in point: Up until three days ago and today, respectively, I have China Mieville and CJ Cherryh assigned to the wrong genders.

  13. L. Ron Hubard was also missing from that book where’s the outrage?

    What does that say about his writing?

    Just ignore me I’ve been making fun of Scientology a little too much lately and I’ve noticed a up swing in the amount of blue shirted SeaOrgs following me. I’M NOT PARANOID!!!!

  14. @exarch: He created this list, right? Probably from his own reading. It makes me wonder if he reads any women writers. Something tells me no. It’s not always intentional, though by his reactions it probably is with him (an actual, thought out, “Women SciFi writers just aren’t as good as male SciFi writers!” rather than just a tendency to read male writers).

    Even I have a tendency to read books and stories written buy men more often than woman, which concerns me sometimes, so I try to make an effort to branch out.

    Unfortunately, I’m not so much into SciFi, so the response with the list of books doesn’t do much for me. 

  15. @anonentity: “This scifi written by women and persons of color is perfectly acceptable… as long as it is ABOUT white males and their thrilling exploits.”

    I call bullshit. In most novels I read the race of the protagonist is never mentioned or is mentioned, but not in a way that is relevant to earth. Is Jinxian black or white? I’ve read a fair number of stories where the protagonist didn’t have a body. There does seem to be gender/race/boob bias in a lot of the cover art, but the authors almost never get a vote about the cover.

  16. “Earlier this year it was reported that climate change may have killed the Loch Ness Monster. There have been “no “credible sightings” of Nessie for over a year. ”

    Oh wow… None? Really? Are they SURE?????

  17. I’ve heard it said that “Frankenstein” (written by a woman, Mary Shelley) was the first science fiction novel. Maybe you literary types can confirm/deny?

    I’m in the camp where I just read stuff that a) looks cool or b) someone has recommended to me, regardless of who the author is. Although stories with strong female main characters allow me to identify a bit better than ones with weak and silly females on every page.

  18. @marilove:

    No marilove I would not be surprised. But that does not answer my question does it?

    My point is that we have no meaningful figures on how many men and women of any and all races, creeds, and/or colours are writing Science Fiction, and trying but failing to get published, to give some weight to the thread.

    Also, I think @James Fox‘s comment does carry some weight. Most of the women I’ve known in my life think Science Fiction is silly boy’s stuff that only juvenile geeks would even think worth looking at, and to which no self-respecting intelligent woman would think of writing.

    Now, we all know that’s a false point of view; that many highly intelligent women do in fact write excellent Science Fiction — Kress and Le Guin being prime examples. However, if a majority of women do hold that false view, then women will be under-represented in the field because they simply are not there; not because they are being intentionally excluded by the mean and evilly nasty white boys club.

    As for men of any and all races, creeds, and/or colours writing Science Fiction, I have no argument except to say maybe a majority of them also feel Sci_Fi is foolish. Do you know otherwise?

  19. @Nicole: It’s pretty much impossible to fix a start date to something so ambiguously defined as a genre.
    You could make an argument for the greeks, or the arabian nights (and people have.) A cursory search found an alternate world story from a frenchwoman about 150 years pre-frankenstein.

  20. @Nicole: I’ve heard that, too. I think it depends on how the term “science-fiction” is defined. There’s been some argument in academic circles about it. For now, I tend to agree, having read it. Some say it’s a pure “horror” novel.

  21. Years ago I remember having a discussion about Octavia Butler. Our exercise was to come up with another famous black female science fiction author. We couldn’t. That doesn’t mean that we weren’t missing someone, but the fact that we were stumped was telling.

  22. @Nicole:

    In some ways it can be argued that it is, if not the first, one of the first Sci-Fi stories. But it is really more of a horror story and social commentary, which were not uncommon at the time (1816). She was not yet nineteen years old when she started writing the novel.

    But, there is so little science of any kind in it, that it may be a bit of a stretch to call it Sc-Fi.

    Mary Shelley’s main intent (other than to answer the whim and gaming challenge of Husband Perce Bysshe Shelley), was to present a story that served as “a cautionary tale against overweening presumption …. a forceful social, political and psychological commentary.”

    Quote from Candace Ward, Dover Classic Editions; Dover Publications, 1994

  23. The polls seem to indicated that the Maine vote will be close. It’s anybody’s game. The good news is that the supporter of marriage equality are putting together an actual campaign instead of rolling over and playing dead like they did in CA.

  24. That list of SciFi authors does not mention Doris Lessing. She wrote science fiction, science fiction that was very much in the style of 70s feminist literature. And she won the Nobel prize for Literature in 2007. Duh? Thought she’d be at the top of the list, really.

  25. Cool, thanks for the answers. I knew it would be fuzzy anyhow..

    @Jake Lsewhere: Wow, Utopia? Really? I never thought of that. I took a class on Utopian Lit in college, and “The Handmaid’s Tale” as on our reading list, which is on the women’s sci-fi list. So in the end I’m not that surprised… We also read 1984 and “Brave New World.”

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