Skepchick Quickies, 1.21


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. Having only been familiar with the politics of Clinton and Bush I was truly confused by the man giving this inaugural address. Who is this person and why is he talking about things I find important? “We will restore science to its rightful place.”, “We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals…. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.”

    Stop talking vial tempter, least I grow to trust my president, and have faith in the system that put him their.

  2. Well, if the Chinese government says that UFOs are real what more evidence do you need? /snark

    Although, to be specific, I don’t have a problem with the existence of UFOs. I have a problem with the leap (such as was made in that article) that the unidentified flying object was a diamond shaped UFO, and that kind of UFO is more bad ass than a “typical” saucer UFO because it can travel from planet to planet without the need of a mothership. It looks like an extremely out of focus “something-or-other” to me. But then the government pays me to say that… or do they?

  3. @marilove: Well, this girl that I work with knows this guy who had his arthritis cured after having acupuncture- explain that with your..

    /sarcasm! ;)

    I thought the Chinese government didn’t delve in to those sort of things?

  4. Only in PC fairyland is this seen as unacceptable:
    84 percent of the women and 74 percent of the men expressed worry about the family-unfriendliness of their intended profession, and many had changed their plans accordingly

    When will people grow up & realize that you can’t have everything you want in life?

  5. I’ve had a problem with the term “UFO – Unidentified Flying Object” for a long time. When used in the aviation community, it’s way of saying ” I saw something, but I don’t know WTF I saw.” The word “object” trips up people and leads them immediately to “object = solid thing” logic. That’s not necessarily the case. In aviation, it’s like saying “WTF is/was that?” with no judgment on the cause(s).

    Anyone that flies or is around airplanes much will tell you that judging distance and object size at night or in poor visibility is a crapshoot. Short of using radar or laser ranging, there is no way to be really accurate. The human eye doesn’t work well for that.

    I’ve seen some wierd shiat in the skies over the years, but I’ve never thought it was E.T. or the Starship Enterprise coming back to eff up our timeline again. Mirages, sundogs, reflections, cloud formations, misidentified aircraft, planets, stars, statellite or stage reentries, launch plumes…so many non-alien (and much more likely) possibilities.

    That photo the Chinese provided is useless. If the film is of the same quality, it is also useless. So typical of UFO “proof.” I’m sure that there’s no physical proof to offer, as well.

    Why don’t the aliens leave a crewmember on the White House front lawn in broad daylight for us to examine, or some truly advanced tech? It would make things so much easier… :-D

  6. No doubt about it – the world needs women in science and every other nook and cranny (just as the world needs men to be similarly distributed). When my friends discuss Women-in-Science-and-Math, we seem to always quickly get to a problem area identified in the news article: that many of these pursuits have large components that are men-designed-and-implemented to be non-cooperative, non-collaborative, non-nurturing, non-social endeavors that are unappealing to those outside (and should be (my view) equally unappealing to those that have been attracted to these pursuits). Rather than trying to seduce additional women into this model (and perpetuate it for the current participants), it would seem we should try a paradigm shift at the very foundation of our society. Something other than providing pink calculators and painting pretty flowers on the walls of the lab. Highly intelligent and competent, motivated women do like pink calculators and pretty flowers, right?

    It would be terrific if we invest at least as much effort and resources in identifying and implementing that paradigm shift as is spent trying to find alien-piloted UFOs and paranormal whatevers.

    We need balance and we need it now.


  7. That acupuncture article is a bad one – or at least the title doesn’t match the article content. The findings presented say that acupuncture IS MORE EFFECTIVE than both drugs and placebo.

  8. We’ll need to increase science funding to keep up… China and India are pumping huge dollars into medicine, biotech, space. We’re farting around here.

    Our prosperity for the last 100 years came from science and technology, coupled to a solid work ethic. Why are we willing to give that away? That bail out to Bank of America would have financed NSF, NIH and DOE for the next 5 years.

    Plus, more women in science. Amen. or Awomen.

  9. @mxracer652: Maybe people with happy families could make for healthier, more well-rounded employees with more to offer their chosen professions. Labeling it nothing but a PC issue is a mistake that deliberately ignores valid questions of productivity.

    Also, the problematic issues here are not with the nuts and bolts of the professions themselves (like yesterday’s issue with the nurse), but the social culture surrounding those professions. There’s a big difference there. What’s happening here is an unfriendly culture that is actually impeding people from doing their work as well and as fully as they are capable of doing, and it’s a worthy goal to improve the situation, so they can do that work and we can all benefit from it.

    I see nothing childish or delusional about a desire to change the world around you for the better. If anything, bitterness and cynicism are for the immature – the real adults aren’t afraid of change and progress and the hard work both entail.

  10. @Jen: “Maybe people with happy families could make for healthier, more well-rounded employees with more to offer their chosen professions. Labeling it nothing but a PC issue is a mistake that deliberately ignores valid questions of productivity.”

    I fully agree with you here. My wife and I commented about this a lot as we raised our kids and now our kids are saying the same things.

    For a country that claims to be so “pro-family,” we spend a lot of time making life as hard as possible for the average family. I think it’s been labeled a “PC issue” because that way it can be discounted without any attempt to deal with it.

    If you doubt me, consider how hard it can be to take leave under FMLA to care for sick or disabled parents, for example. There are lots more examples.

  11. >>When will people grow up & realize that you can’t have everything you want in life?<<

    Well I suppose you can if your expectations are reachable (reasonable?) and you can handle not having immediate gratification. I guess if I want a lot of really hard to reach goals. I may not get everything but does striving for more mean I am not grown up. I don’t really think having our professions being family friendly is such a tough goal.

  12. @mxracer652: Uh, so wanting a family friendly job is suddenly “wanting it all”? How about … wanting something reasonable?

    And anyway, what is wrong with wanting everything in life, as long as you are willing and able to put the work in to try to abtain it? Wanting to get as much out of life as you can possibly get isn’t childish, it’s called … living and having goals.

  13. @mxracer652: It seems pretty clear that are not in higher education and/or married. As a spouse of a grad student and the son of a professor I can say that life in an academic family can be tough and making relationships work is challenging at times, I would argue much more so then in families were you have the two partners working 9-5’s. I would also say that the relationship challenges are greater (and so does the article) when it’s women who are the academics in question. A lot of the suggestions in the article were simple and straight forward which could improve the quality of life for those in the field of academics with very little downside. All and all the point of the article was that if women (and men would benefit greatly as well) are to have an increased presence in academics, then you need an environment in which one can REASONABLE be able to have a successful academic career and a successful family life. In today’s academic environment this is certainly not the case. Because of reasons biological (women carry babies 9 months, give birth, need time to recover, and nurse) and social (women should be able to have time to bound with there children and are still the primary care takers) women are at a greater disadvantage then men when it comes to having both (successful academic career and successful family life). As said before, that’s not PC fairyland, that’s reasonable. Also if academic communities wanted the best, they would be more accommodating, and not require people to choose between career and family, because some of the best will choose family and leave academia.

  14. “For a country that claims to be so “pro-family,” we spend a lot of time making life as hard as possible for the average family. I think it’s been labeled a “PC issue” because that way it can be discounted without any attempt to deal with it.”

    What are you talking about, pro-family means one man and one women and stopping the gays from ruining marriage for the rest of us. Things like vacation time, sick days for your kids, and maternity/paternity leave is for PC liberals. And your not one of “those” are you?

  15. @skepticalhippy: No, not at all. I’m simply speaking from my personal family experience, which is admittedly limited due to my particular life.

    I have gay friends and relatives and they have even less assistance (and sympathy) than the so-called “traditional families” do with handling long-term illnesses or other family disasters.

    The rich can always manage, but those that don’t have lots of money are pretty much left to hang. FMLA is a joke for most people. Many employers just skirt the law because they know employees fear retaliation.

    How many people do you know that can take off a month or two without pay to care for their elderly mother that just broke her hip and can’t afford help? I don’t know of any. It’s even worse for those with currently “unrecognized” relationships, such as gay partnerships.

    This country offers little help of any kind to anyone that has to take time off for family emergencies, “recognized” families or not. The Right labels anything they don’t want to deal with as “PC,” which is just a dimissive code word for “beneath contempt and might hurt our precious profits.”

  16. @QuestionAuthority:
    I was being facetious, in terms of doing things and having policies that are “pro-family”, gay marrying Europe is head and shoulders above “Family Values” America.

  17. @skepticalhippie: A smiley could have been used there. I thought that you might be serious. Remember, e-mail is a somewhat limited form of communication… ;-)

  18. Not just kids, either: housework. Academics who have someone at home who rides herd on the house (keeping it habitable, keeping groceries stocked, doing laundry, etc.) have quite an advantage over those who do not, or are the ones who must do it themselves. When I was a grad student my colleagues and I would joke about wanting a wife. Now I’m an academic (though in the social sciences), working my way towards tenure. I’m extremely fortunate because my partner is a stay-at-home cat daddy.

  19. At any rate it seems that acupuncture, it if is only a placebo, is a very effective one. The secret, of course, is to use a fake acupuncturist who will charge less and won’t irritate you with a load of waffle about Qi.

  20. I am insulted by the mere concept of the “Suicide Girls” first off because of their name- since I am very familiar with mental illness and the mental ill community at large. Suicide is no laughing matter and a lot of people struggle daily to keep themselves from committing suicide. Secondly, what is the deal with the nudity? It is just continuing the objectification of women that society seems to like and promote which seems to be their mission to prevent. I’m no conservative but they’re not sending a good message by the way I take it.

    The article is pretty good though…

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