Quickies

Quickies: Space Debris, the Mistrust of Science, and Saving Sarah

  • Could a satellite fall on your head? – “As the amount of debris in orbit grows, the chances of a piece of space junk hitting other satellites or a crewed spacecraft increases. In fact the International Space Station has to be regularly moved to new orbits to avoid possible collisions.”
  • World Health Organization to Drop Coffee’s Status as Possible Carcinogen – “The agency is finally joining other major research organizations in those findings. Numerous studies in recent years have shown no conclusive link between cancer and coffee and have actually shown protective benefits in certain types of cancer.”
  • The Mistrust of Science – “To defend those beliefs, few dismiss the authority of science. They dismiss the authority of the scientific community. People don’t argue back by claiming divine authority anymore. They argue back by claiming to have the truer scientific authority. It can make matters incredibly confusing. You have to be able to recognize the difference between claims of science and those of pseudoscience.”
  • The Movement to Save Sarah Proves “Praying Away the Gay” Still a Real Danger – “In a story getting a lot of media attention, a GoFundMe has been started for legal fees related to a Texas 17-year-old, Sarah, who was sent to an ‘East Texas Christian boarding facility for troubled teens’ by her parents because she has a girlfriend that she wanted to take to prom. Sarah’s extended family is pursuing a legal case to try to get Sarah released; as of right now, she is supposed to stay there for a full year. She has no access to phone or email communication, and her extended family reports she has already been punished for trying to escape once, and that when her friends arrived at the facility to try to take her away, law enforcement threatened to arrest them.”
  • The Blind Astronomer of Nova Scotia – “Tim Doucette only has ten percent of his vision, but strangely, he can see better in the dark. Since his pupils do not dilate and constrict, too much light gets in during the daylight hours. Yet he can see stars in the night sky better than most people can. So it only made sense that he would study those stars.”
  • How a 1918 Author Introduced the World to the Concept of Female Pleasure – “In Married Love, Stopes points out that men have mainly run the world, and that consequently, the ‘woman’s side of sexual life has found little or no expression.’ Woman, she wrote, “has been content to mold herself to the shape desired by man wherever possible… woman has bowed to man’s desire over her body, and, regardless of its pulses, he approaches her or not as is his will.” She made it abundantly clear that rape can exist within marriage.”

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Mary

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.

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