Quickies

Skepchick Quickies, 9.28

Jen

Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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23 Comments

      1. What’s not to love? She’s funny, brilliant (Mensa member who is fluent in Swedish), athletic (She did a lot of her own stunts and narrowly missed making the US Olympic archery team in 2000, at 46 years-old), and a damn fine dramatic actor.
        .
        When she showed up as an incompetent maid to clean the Keaton’s house and Alex fell in love with her, I did too. Been a huge crush of mine ever since.
        She is one of the few people that I would not be able to meet in real life without making a complete fool of myself, the only people who could vie for my attention if Geena was in the room would be Meryl Streep and maybe Susan Sarandon. Seriously.

  1. On a positive note about the “New 52”, Mr. Terrific (yes, dumb name) is an African-American, atheist, scientist, billionaire industrialist, super-hero. Sure, this first issue was ‘meh’ and a bit clunky, but something to acknowledge nonetheless.

    1. Mr Terrific has been an African-American, atheist, scientist, billionaire industrialist, super-hero since the 90’s. He was the leader of the Justice Society of America (JSA), the precursor to the Justice League of America (JLA).

      The JSA was the Golden Age, 1940’s era superteam. The original Mr. Terrific (who was white) served on that team, so when they decided to revive/revamp the team, they either used time-travelling versions of the originals, or updated versions of them.

      His atheism has come up many times in somewhat disappointing discussions over the years. It’s hard to be a nonbeliever in a world where gods exist like tables do.

      The 90’s and 2000’s JSA have been some of the better books out there for some time. Until the dark times. Until the Crisis on Infinite Reboots.

    1. Here is the problem with that, you could make exactly the same argument against the science for global warming or cigarettes causing cancer or really anything in science. There is a difference between picking any correlation at random and claiming a causative link and what was done in this study. Here are just a couple of reasons:

      Plausibility: Caffeine is a stimulant drug it is plausible that it could have some effect on an illness like depression. Also there have been previous studies suggesting that there could be a link between caffeine and a reduction in depression. This is different than claiming a link between vaccines and autism or democrats winning elections and British drivers winning the f1 championship.

      Confounding factors: So in this study the authors accounted for known risk factors for depression. This reduces the confounding factors in the experiment making the results more likely to be correct, one of the reasons correlation is not causation is because there could be a third factor that influences both factors measured, the experimenters made an effort to reduce the chance of this. The experimenters also checked to see whether the correlation held true for people who drank decaffeinated coffee and it did not, again strengthening the experiment. Also this was a prospective study, again eliminating the post hoc reasoning that could effect a retrospective study.

      Dose rate: If caffeine really does have a preventative effect on depression you would expect to see a larger effect in people who drank more caffeine and a smaller effect in people who drank less caffeine this was observed in the experiment and is good evidence of a link between the two factors.

      Time: It is also possible that people who are depressed drink more coffee, depression is linked to a decrease in energy and that does seem like a reasonable hypothesis so the researchers allowed a latency in their measurements; for example caffeine consumption from 1980 through to 1994 was used to look at new episodes of depression from 1996 to 1998.

      It’s not conclusive but the data supports the a link. While correlation does not equal causation it does imply causation, you just need to take into account the full picture.

      1. Right. Correlation doesn’t equal causation, but it does indicate some kind of link. The three most basic are:

        (1) A causes B
        (2) B causes A
        (3) A and B are both caused by common factors

        There can be more complicated relationships than that, of course. So long as the correlative evidence is actually correct, there will be some connection.

        We don’t dismiss the role of CO2, methane, and so forth in global warming because we can demonstrate the greenhouse effect independently. There haven’t been any similarly compelling demonstrations of any alternate explanation for the link between atmospheric gases and temperature.

  2. About that coffee, as BeardofPants suggested, greater intake of coffee doesnt necesseraly mean lower depression. I am thinking rather that heavy coffee drinkers tend to have more busy life and are prone to depression. On the other hand, the lack of activities and some fulfilment in life may result in depression and in this case people maybe dont need so much coffee..

    Please share your thoughts if this makes sense.

  3. I haven’t read a comic book in decades and seeing the pics of Starfire convinces me that graphic novels should have an R rating.

    Whether or not you the adults are offended by the hypersexualized images of women superheroes in comics it should be clear (at least to me) that those images should not be in the hands of children.

    Back in the 80s, there was a cartoon movie called Heavy Metal. Young and impressionable boys like me at the time were barred from seeing the movie because of the R rating. As an adult I viewed the DVD and I am glad of the rating. The development of a healthy attitude towards girls and women could have been tampered by seeing the objectifying images of the busty heroine Taarna at such an early age. Now similar images are in graphic novels being targetted towards the adolescent age bracket. Getting horny and masturbating at that age is normal but that’s why we need proper sex-ed. Would I allow my 2 boys to view the current Starfire? Sorry kids but not while you’re under my roof.

    The author was trying to make a point but should not have exploited a child in doing so. If I wanted to make a statement about how Playboy objectifies women, I certainly would not validate this by having a young boy or girl review the magazine and weigh in.

    1. While women in comics have long been overly sexualized or relegated to damsel roles, that trend had been changing for the better for some time over at DC.

      Then this year they decided to reboot their storylines, and got rid of their women writers and sexed the whole thing up. The entire geekosphere has been pretty pissed off by this.

    2. I don’t see the evidence that comics (or TV, or novels, or …) cause the kind of substantial warping of social behavior you speak of. My first impression is to say that this is pretty much on the same level as those who claim violent media causes violence.

      In my opinion, it’s very likely that any impact these entertainment media would have is dwarfed by selection effects, interpersonal actions, educational influence, parental behavior, and other factors.

      If you have one or more well conducted scientific studies showing otherwise, I’d be glad to read them.

  4. DC responded to the Starfire thing:

    We’ve heard what’s being said about Starfire today and we appreciate the dialogue on this topic. We encourage people to pay attention to the ratings when picking out any books to read themselves or for their children.

    To which io9 comments: in other words, “It’s your own fault if you let your kids read our comics.” Which, honestly, seems to be missing the point a bit.

      1. If I read it right, their position is more along the lines of:

        “We don’t know how to write good stories for a broad audience that are profitable, so we’ll stick to suckering fools out of their money. That’s worked for a long time. KTHX”

  5. I don’t understand the mentality at DC comics, even apart from the anti woman sentiment starfire was a great character, I’m sure even the less feminist nerds are upset by the sheer stupidity of the character changes.

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