Skepchick Quickies, 3.1

Update: Sorry for repeating links from last week. I’m sick for the second time in as many weeks and I’m not really with it.


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. I went to the PMSBuddy page and read about it.

    I got to the page for the “I Am A Man” app, or something, I don’t know, but it had screenshots for one program, I don’t know if it’s the PMSBuddy app or something else, but anyway;

    What really creeped me out is that the ‘ovulation’ icon is a wrapped condom. That…that just disturbs me on the implications.

  2. Science rocked my world as a 12 year old kid, a Jehovah’s Witness, going to the book study with the book “Evolution or Creation”. At first I was excited, I was about to learn the science behind our world view on how God created the earth and life (FYI, the gap creation model). Instead I learned a bunch of misquotes, out of context quotes and “evidence”, appeals to complexity and authority, terrible analogies, bad science, and outdated arguments. I was terribly disappointed, but no one else saw what I saw , so I couldn’t tell anyone about my doubts.

    Luckily, the public library was my haunt and I read everything I could about evolution and abiogenesis. I slowly started looking at the world through a scientific lens instead of a rosy colored religious one. I became a secret atheist. Anyone who knows anything about JWs knows that the shunning you would get from your friends and family is something you never want to experience, especially in your mid teens. Luckily many of my friends had the same doubts and you felt as if you were not so alone. Anyway, science, it rocked my world at 12. Then puberty took over.

  3. I liked the message of the Salon article, but it gave a few too many words to the vaccine-autism link. This sentence in particular rubbed me the wrong way: The correlation between the MMR vaccine and autism may still be unproven, but the correlation between the MMR vaccine and preventing death and disease is pretty clear-cut. It’s the “may still be unproven”. It sounds to me like an implication that someday the link may be found. But that could just be me being hypersensitive.

    PMSBuddy? Is there an app that will let women know when their men are downloading this? We can call it “ToolBuddy”.

  4. I remember one of the first times science rocked my world. A chemistry class I took when I was 17 had a lot of these moments, but I remember one in particular. It was a simple lab experiment on freezing point depression and boiling point elevation. I learned that you can determine the molecular weight of a substance simply by weighing it, dissolving it in water, and either boiling or freezing it. It’s so amazing that it has nothing to do with the type of material (as long as it is soluble in water) and only depends on the molecular weight! It was also really cool to understand how rock salt works for treating icy roads. It’s such a simple thing, but you wouldn’t even know about it if you never thought about it.

    I also had a lot of those moments during a college course about cellular metabolism. During one lecture, the professor was explaining how mitochondria work, and I couldn’t help thinking about how this is going on inside my very own cells, right now! It was so amazing to know what’s going on inside my own body.

  5. I was just a small kid when science rocked my world. Maybe as young as 4. Dad brought me outside and took me in his arms to make me see the moon trough his telescope. I don’t remember much what I thought or said. Dad was always a huge contributing factor in my interrest in science. The picture books I had were an entire row of National Geography magazines and another of books. I still have the book “Our Universe”. We’d spend the whole night up outside, watching the meteor shower, him and I. He bought me a microscope. When we were older, he dragged the whole family to star parties and astronomy club meetings (where I was laughed at by one of the members when I told them that I saw one night a shooting star cross the sky and explode in the atmosphere *grumbles* Adults! Turns out it was a fireball )!

    That PMS app: I’m trying not to think of the reasons why a guy would want to use that app (I keep pushing those thoughts back!!) but how would this thing be accurate?

  6. On McCarthy – great article. The woman has insane troll logic.

    On “PMSBuddy” – I’m lucky in that I don’t really get raging PMS, but we have an app for that.

    It’s called a wall calendar. I mark the start date of my period on it. My husband can look at it and figure it out anytime he wants – it doesn’t even need to be charged up.

    On the Utah Miscarriage thing AND the health supplement thing – um, didn’t we cover these last week?

    It’s a Quickies rerun today….

  7. @Chasmosaur: Bah, you need to embrace the future! Soon our cellphones will be able to pay our bills, start our cars, unlock our front doors, act as IDs, get us on public transit systems, and a myriad of other things that result in us being utterly fucked if we drop it!

    What? No, I don’t read Cracked, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

  8. @Chasmosaur:

    You’re actually not “lucky”, just average. PMS isn’t something that happens to all or most women. In fact, a lot of people, even women, don’t even know what PMS actually is. If (generic) you feel unpleasant while you’re bleeding, that’s understandable but that’s not PMS. It’s something that happens before you start menstruating, but a lot of my friends forget what the P stands for in the acronym.

  9. @Billtannica:

    That bill sounds awesome and I hope it passes. What really bothers me is when products have been “cleared by the FDA”, and they try to pretend that that means they’ve been proven effective, when it only means that they’re not dangerous. I wish they would require some clarification for things like that.

  10. @Chasmosaur:

    Actually, this is a case of words changing meaning over time. PMS used to be what is termed PMDD now. But PMS became a convenient way to ignore women’s protests, so it quickly came to be applied to nearly all women. Of course, some women face a real medical disorder, and they still have it even after the term has become diluted, so we came up with a new term for the very same problem. Anyway, that’s beside the point and I guess you really are lucky then, because I think it is largely genetic.

  11. Seeing a Van de Graaf generator for the first time at the local science museum during an elementary school field trip. Monster arcs that truly rocked.
    And the coolest part (other than getting to be the kid touching it and having his hair stand up) was finding out that the principle behind it was the same as the static shock one gets off a door knob.

    Funny thing was, my dad had already taught me how to arc weld by the time I was 10, but I thought this was WAY cooler.

  12. I think I finally understand Jenny McCarthy’s motives. If she can blame her son’s condition on a vaccine or some other outside influence then she’s justified in wanting her son to “be normal”. Conversely if he was simply born with autism then she’d be a shallow person for not loving him as he is.

  13. What’s worse about some of those apps is that it advertises that you can “track multiple women!” WTF??? And, I’ve made it very clear to my boy that my mood swings are tied to my work schedule, not my period, and they don’t make an app for that! (Well, maybe Google Calendar.)

    My science moment came when I was 12 and we were learning about astronomy in 8th grad science class. I had always loved science, had wanted to be an astronaut and all that, but when I heard there was this thing called the “Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram” where you could plot stars by brightness and color, and that color told you temperature, and we knew all kinds of physics about each kind of star based on where it was on the diagram… man, I was hooked.

    @Displaced Northerner: I’m with you there. If they had stated clearly just once that study after study has been unable to find any link that has been suggested by Wakefield or others, I might be a little bit happier.

    @Skept-artist: Tattoo from the SKIES!!!

  14. Jen –

    S’okay. I’m getting over whiplash and I freakin blew a capillary in my eye two weeks ago and got the lovely bloody eye effect…just confused.

    Besides, it’s Monday morning. I dumped my husband’s half-filled coke can over the arm of the couch this morning…

  15. Science rocked my world three times:

    1. When I sat with my great-grandmother who remembered the first car in her county and watched the moon landing. At 9 years old, I knew it was special but nowhere nearly as special as great-grandma did.

    2. When I learned how to calculate PI using random numbers.

    3. When I tried out “The Lollipop” a device now awaiting FDA approval that gives blind people the ability to see by using their tongue. I first tried it about 8 years ago and have enjoyed following the project ever since and acting as an unofficial tester. [This is *real*, you can find it online with a quick google search and while it doesn’t return anything like full vision, using it, I could see well enough to roll a ball back and forth across a table, to find my soda can where I had left it, to see door frames and other useful things when walking around.

    It’s weird though in that one must return to blindness when he wants to talk, eat and use the tongue for anything but seeing.

  16. I don’t think science has ever really rocked my world, but I think my favourite memory is picking fossils at the local ski jump (one of five ski flying hills in the world) where there was a lot of loose fossil bearing shale. I had one where I only found the fossil after cracking a piece open, so I had both the positive and negative image of an ancient sea shell. Pretty amazing cracking a rock open and seeing an image that’s been hidden for millions of years.

  17. I can’t remember when Science first rocked my world, I was collecting fossils, and reading space exploration books, and building LEGOs of moon landers and models of the Apollo missions as far back as I can recall. Cosmos was pretty awesome though, I remember being bummed when it ended.

  18. Science rocking: I must have been about 3 when I saw my first dinosaur skeleton at Yale’s Peabody Museum. I feel in love. [It helped that my father dug things up for a living. I was disappointed when I learnt that he only unearthed civilisations, not dinos.] Decades later, I took my four year old there – he recognised one of the dinos from his books and ran to the skeleton, shouting its name.

    10.0 world rocking: When Sputnik was launched and, all of a sudden, it was not only OK to be smart, it was encouraged. Before that, there was a definite suspicion that, were one intelligent, there must be commies lurking in one’s attic.

  19. @Displaced Northerner

    You are not being too sensitive. I also bristled at that sentence in the Salon article. I actually thought the whole thing was pretty poorly written. I think the author’s head is in the write place but her words weren’t quite there.

    And frankly, I think rubbing spoons all over anyone’s body makes you a full scale loon. Unless those spoons are filled with chocolate sauce and then it’s just delicious.

  20. Maybe science did rock my world, only it was so early I hardly remember it as such. Don’t remember exactly when, but at one point when Norwegian TV showed the cartoon history of human kind, starting from the birth of the solar system, Once upon a time… Man, every episode was the high point of my week.

  21. @Bjornar: Oh! I watched that show in french. That was an awesome show!! I keeps saying that when we were kids, we had the best cartoons EVER! Didn’t they have a series about the human body as well from the same producers?

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