Skepchick Quickies 8.27

Skepchick Quickies 8.27

On August 27th, 1875, American biologist, suffragist, philanthropist, and all-around great person Katharine (Dexter) McCormick was born. She was the first woman to graduate from MIT with a bachelor of science degree, and in later years she used her substantial inheritance to fund research for the birth control pill. She also gave money to MIT to build the Stanley McCormick Hall to house female students because there  was not much housing for women and so her dorm helped to increase the presence of women on the campus.

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By Mary
Mary Brock is a scientist who works on drugs you've hopefully never heard of. She enjoys cooking to Blue Grass music, messing with her cats, and hosting the Boston Skeptics' Book Club. She was born in the South but loves living in New England (despite the lack of chocolate chip pizza). Mary does not use Twitter and don't even try to follow her, because she is always looking over her shoulder.

4 Comments

  1. Avatar of Grand Lunar

    Interesting items here (and a truly bizzare piece on Vader!).

    But no tribute here yet to Neil Armstrong?

  2. Avatar of Filias Cupio

    Here’s a similar legal conundrum I thought up (but I suspect, unlike the twins, has never come up in reality.)

    Two crimes are committed simultaneously. There are only two people who could possibly have committed the crimes. It is not possible for one person to have committed both. Therefore it is proven that both people committed a crime. However, circumstances mean that we can’t tell which person committed which crime. Can we get a conviction?

    (If you want to relate it to the identical twins, imagine they each killed someone in front of witnesses at the same time in different cities, and then met up before either could be arrested.)

    (If the circumstances indicate they’d planned this situation, we could get them both on conspiracy charges, but that isn’t what I’m interested in.)

    • Avatar of Buzz Parsec

      It is possible to convict someone of murdering an unknown or unidentified person, so maybe this is just a variation of that. You know twin A killed someone, you just don’t know who. You also know twin B killed someone. If you regard it as the victims being unidentified, rather than the killers, I think they can be convicted.

      Suppose the twins both fired shotguns at a crowd of people. It might not be possible to determine which twin fired the fatal shot at any particular victim*, but I’m certain you could convict both of them of murder. Just separate the twins and victims for this case.

      [*]Based on TV-show forensics that you can’t identify which shotgun fired a particular shot.

  3. Avatar of BeccaTheCyborg

    As far as the PTSD article goes, I’m only surprised that the rates of it being sky-high in lower-income neighbourhoods are finally being reported on. Now it would be nice to see something about the women in those same neighbourhoods, as well as the fact that women have twice the PTSD rates that men have.

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