Quickies: Judge Sarah Palin, How are Baby Eels Made?, and the Limits of the Bechdel Test

  • The 30 Funniest Single Panels in Comic Book History – Share your favorite in the comments! From Alex.
  • Sarah Palin is trying to become Judge Judy. This should surprise exactly no one. – “In fact, Palin’s entire persona these days is about rendering judgment, whether it’s on the ‘lamestream media’ or the ‘establishment’ trying to bring down Donald Trump. Exercising what influence she has to draw strict conclusions on what she finds objectionable is exactly what Palin loves to do; why wouldn’t she try to leverage that love into a job where she literally gets to judge people?”
  • It’s Another Religious Freedom vs. Birth Control Showdown at SCOTUS This Week – “Now, seven religiously affiliated employers, including social service organizations and universities, are protesting that their religious objection to contraception is so strong that even writing a note to exempt themselves from covering it is too close an association. They say that giving the government their insurers’ contact information is a direct step toward delivering contraception and that the government will use their insurance plan’s existing infrastructure to provide contraception.”
  • How are baby eels made? We still don’t know – “Eels exist, of that there is no doubt. Yet these slippery customers have never been spotted mating or giving birth in the Sargasso Sea or anywhere else.” I didn’t even know this was a thing I didn’t know until just now.
  • Can the Government Stop the Next Martin Shkreli? – “For most of its existence, the FDA has steadfastly avoided questions of economics or access to pharmaceuticals, focusing instead on the more technical issues of drug safety, efficacy, and marketing claims. But the escalating problems of generic drug shortages and price hikes in the past few years have led the agency to reconsider its accidental role in sustaining monopolies on old drugs. And so the agency announced Friday a new priority-review pathway that would grease the rails for any would-be competitor to challenge an accidental monopoly like the one Turing exploited.”
  • Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? – “We’re told that eating breakfast will make us slimmer, happier and livelier, but have we been swallowing a myth?”
  • What Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend reveal about the limitations of the Bechdel test – “What makes The CW’s current Monday-night lineup feminist is not its ability to pass or fail the Bechdel test. It’s the fact that the network has created a space in which women can have complex interior lives that are not solely focused on men, in which they have interests and passions and mixed feelings that are important in their own right, not for how they affect the men around them.”

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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.

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  1. March 23, 2016 at 1:41 pm —

    Regarding the Bechdel test, the punchline is “Last movie I was able to see was Alien.” I think we know what she was going for. (For those who have never seen Alien, basically the whole movie is a rape metaphor.)

    Also, she’s the *eponymous crazy ex-girlfriend. Just the use of “titular” when people mean “eponymous” always bugs me.

  2. March 23, 2016 at 6:29 pm —

    I get so disappointed when people link to premium articles that I can’t read :'(

    • March 23, 2016 at 7:53 pm —

      I was able to read all the articles without hitting a paywall. NewScientist has free registration, which is a small hurdle to cross for good content.

  3. March 23, 2016 at 8:17 pm —

    “Aristotle thought [eels] came from earthworms.”

    I’ve personally found earthworm sized eels wriggling their way over grass tens of metres from the nearest body of water, so although wrong, this isn’t as dumb an idea as it first seems.

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