Skepchick Quickies 7.13



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

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Comment of the Week!


  1. July 13, 2012 at 11:34 am —

    Can anyone cite a reliable source for the existence of the poodle moth? Not that I don’t trust you, but you have to admit it looks absolutely unbelievable.

    • July 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm —

      I can’t verify it (the phrase “poodle moth” doesn’t seem to actually identify any species), but I would like to emphasize there are many types of moth which look simply unreal at first glance.

      Consider Lonomia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lonomia ); it looks almost identical to a brown leaf. Imagine if you tried to pick that up and it went flying off!

      Another one that doesn’t look real is the Atlas moth ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attacus_atlas ). These things are huge, with a wingspan of as much as ten inches.

    • July 13, 2012 at 8:55 pm —

      I wonder if it’s mislabeled and actually a Diaphora mendica or Muslin moth? Although I haven’t seen any white one this hairy.

      Nature spot

  2. July 13, 2012 at 12:17 pm —

    Good article on the issue of harassment.
    Amy’s quote is great, too.

    Those snow leopard cubs are too cute!
    And they’re being typical cats!
    Hope that video when they’re older shows them playing with one another.

    From the picture, my first thought was that there might have been an article about radioactive elements. What does that say for my mental process? Sheesh!

  3. July 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm —

    Well EVERY community has a sexism problem, the problem with atheists/skeptics/non-religious however is that we often hold ourselves to be more enlightened and somehow immune to sexism and racism because of this self-perceived enlightenment.

    But of course, we aren’t immune, and I think that the this blog in particular has stirred up enough shit that people have finally started to feel challenged on their sexism. And although they might resist that challenge I think it’s changing people’s thinking. It’s been a long road that’s been marred by conflict, but people are more and more starting to get the message of feminism.

    In other words, this blog is changing the world.

    That deserves a *BROFIST* Skepchick.

    • July 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm —

      *BROFIST EXPLOSION* Thank you!

      • July 13, 2012 at 3:19 pm —

        BROFIST EXPLOSION is the name of my all-female punk/zydeco fusion band.

    • July 13, 2012 at 3:16 pm —

      Some time ago I read about a study which found that people who believe they are morally superior in some aspect to others (e.g. being vegan/ecologically minded) usually allow themselves – through a sense of entitlement – to compensate by being complete dicks to people. I believe there’s sound science behind that study.

      • July 14, 2012 at 6:48 am —

        Is there an actual study on it? I always thought this was a cliché.

        In my experience, being vegan and worrying about the environment actually makes me realize MORE how many wrong things I do, makes me feel more crap about myself, etc.
        So these “you think you re so much better than us” statements always sounded very dubious to me.

        • July 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm —

          I don’t know of any such study with regards to environmental or food attitudes. I’m skeptical of correlation there.

          However, there have been studies that found people with class privilege are more likely to deceive, to cheat, and to hold condescending attitudes towards those below them in the class hierarchy. It seems to be a combination of the Just World fallacy and Fundamental Attribution Error.

  4. July 13, 2012 at 2:26 pm —

    Anyone see this story about how negative stereotypes can effect performance, specifically for women in science? http://www.npr.org/2012/07/12/156664337/stereotype-threat-why-women-quit-science-jobs

    I thought the article was rather charitable to DJ, but it’s nice to know TAM has hired a consultant to deal with the whole harassment issue. Unfortunately, their strategy doesn’t include a publicly stated harassment policy this year. http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/07/12/i-hate-to-say-i-told-you-so/

  5. July 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm —

    Re: freshening of “female parts”
    Here’s a gif I made :P

  6. July 13, 2012 at 3:39 pm —

    “Melinda Gates pledges $560 million to contraceptive access” … suck it, Ratzinger. At least some of your “flock” gets the message.

  7. July 13, 2012 at 4:01 pm —

    Melinda Gates pledges $560 mil to contraceptive access? What does that even mean? I find it so unlikely that any of that money will find its way into the countries that need it. Ask Bob Geldof and Midge Ure what happened when they tried to do that with Live Aid. Sounds really really good, but in practice govt’s get in the way. She needs to take all of her freaking money, come out directly against Ratzinger and his crazy ass policies (which she is obviously against since the last time I checked using contraceptives is a Cardinal Sin, punishable by an eternity in Hell) with the Catholic Church. Otherwise stop the double standard. And ask your husband Bill, who is John Gault?

  8. July 13, 2012 at 4:08 pm —

    My girlfriend is the assistant director of the Center for Feminist Research at a rather large university and in the time we’ve been together I have learned just how sexual harassment has become accepted behaivor, and how under reported it is.

    Hopefully stories like this will help bring the problem to light.

  9. July 13, 2012 at 7:51 pm —

    From the “sexual harassment problem” article:

    “The explanations are many — the bad economy, that women, as caregivers, are less able to get away, and that more men than women identify as skeptics, whose worldview rejects the supernatural and focuses on science and rationality.”

    The majority of this paragraph makes me feel all slimy. Am I being oversensitive here, or is Kimberly Winston really insinuating that women are gullible, irrational, and chained to stoves and cribs?

  10. July 13, 2012 at 8:59 pm —

    It is a good article, but…

    I’m concerned that the article’s title and its appearance in the Washington Post’s “On Faith” column will lead to its being used by religious people to bolster claims that atheists are worse people. They will say that it both reinforces the notion that atheists are less likely to treat others with respect and that atheists are less likely to have any sort of sexual mores.

    Is that a legitimate concern?

    • July 13, 2012 at 11:42 pm —

      I’m pretty sure that religious people will continue to hate atheists no matter what.

      However, you’re right be embarrassed by this issue. The answer is not to just hush it up though; the answer is to make a change. If people criticize atheists for the sexual harassment that goes on, the only correct response is to stop the harassment.

    • July 14, 2012 at 12:08 am —

      Don’t worry, the conservatives slimes already try to take advantage of this. They didn’t need this article to become aware of this.

      Try conservapedia, for example, it is awful.

      • July 14, 2012 at 2:08 pm —

        But does anyone take Conservapedia seriously? I mean, aside from morons.

        • July 14, 2012 at 5:15 pm —

          I know I don’t , but I meant that we really shouldn’t worry about religious radicals trying to exploit this. They already do and they are not to be taken seriously anyway.

  11. July 13, 2012 at 10:06 pm —

    Were the other people the Mormon’s lost tribe?


  12. July 14, 2012 at 9:01 am —

    I recall hearing somewhere that the reason why the Clovis points were so ubiquitous might be due to the fact that these items were traded far and wide rather than the group was particularly large.

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