Skepchick Quickies 10.14

  • American culture derails girl math whizzes -  This news has made hotphysicsboy despondent: “If you don’t mind now I’m going to go find a corner in which to curl up into a fetal position in and cry whilst thinking about all the sexy genius math nerd chicks that could/should have been… *sniffle*”
  • NSFW molecules? – Jorge trolls scientific papers for suggestive images, apparently.  Nothing wrong with that.
  • Here’s the harm – Harriet Hall reports on a study in which HIV positive children in the Dominican Republic were given massage therapy instead of drugs to test the effects of massage.
  • Should chimps be considered people?


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. It would be an interesting legal precedent to have personhood applied to chimps. There’s currently no such thing as a non-human person. I can think of several scifi scenarios where you’d run across one, though: aliens, “uplifted” animals, AI. While it’s unlikely we’re going to have to deal with any of these any time soon (this year’s Loebner competition was pretty discouraging), it wouldn’t hurt to have something on the books to deal with the issue if and when it arises.

  2. I want to send that first article to the professor I HAD who told me, last Wednesday, that I am not the “kind of person” or someone with the right “mind-frame” to succeed in my major. Nor someone she would like to see as a “leader of the free world.”

    ::very angry::

  3. The maths thing applies in the UK as well. I was sitting in an undergraduate statistics examination this morning (I know, not just Chemistry but ALSO Maths, I get around)

    5min into the exam one of the two girls sitting the exam started crying and ran out. I’m sure more women in the course would have made lectures and tutorials more bearable for those few women on it. Imagine being out numbered more than 50 to 1 by randy male undergraduates, it must have made ther course a nightmere for them.

  4. In first grade we had construction paper cut outs of all the numbers (remember construction paper?) Anyway, the teacher had drawn faces on the numbers… to assit with the learning or something.

    The faces, were, rather… odd.

    The seven was actually angry looking.
    The eight was scowling.
    The nine looked like it was about to cry.

    Lesson: Numbers Have Feelings. Numbers Are Mean.

  5. @Tina: You do realize that being told that just means that you *are* going to be leader of the free world and damn good at it, right?

  6. I’d be interested in what people who *might* have ended up excelling at mathematics actually end up doing.

    Is it other things that use maths (science, engineering, economics), or do they get turned off anything maths-related?

  7. @Steve “There’s currently no such thing as a non-human person.”

    Not true. Every Corporate entity is considered a person for legal purposes. This was done so the right to privacy could be made to apply to businesses. And if we can have what actually are small folders with a few sheets of paper in them count as people, we can have apes count, too, I think.

  8. @PH: I wasn’t a girl, but I did have math ability. (I won multiple math competitions throughout my middle and high school years.) I wasn’t discouraged from math so much as I was discouraged from schooling itself by some combination of the ridiculously long (and early) hours, lack of challenge, social issues (though probably more due to my extreme introversion than anything else), and other classes that I found utterly pointless. I might have been able to finish college if I’d been allowed to go into my chosen field after fewer than 15 years of general “education”, most of which was spent regurgitating trivia.

    That said, I still enjoy math, and keep detailed stats about my work and hobbies, so I’m far from turned off from the subject matter. As for occupation, for the past few years, I have been varying combinations of poker dealer, poker player, football and basketball referee, and game show contestant.

    This concludes today’s episode of “More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Some Guy on the Internet”.

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