Skepchick Quickies, 8.22


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. Kids know how to ask really tough questions, and sometimes “Why?” is the toughest question of all.
    I got stumped by “Why are people mean?”
    I tried to get her to read Bertrand Russell but 6-year-olds can be so lazy sometimes.

    1. When I was in uni, I asked my 4yo niece to help me with my math. All she wanted to do was play Parcheesi. So, Parcheesi it was. Kids are such an evil influence.

    1. Yeah, the combination of nature enthusiasts who have no idea how the scientific process works and/or are terrified and Counterstrike enthusiasts showing off their gun “knowledge” is pretty depressing.

    2. But bullet-proof skin will be knife-proof too! Oh no!

      For those who don’t speak Dutch though, and have less than half a brain to figure out what’s really going on, here’s the short version:
      Art student needs an art project for school, looks at some interesting research and says “hey, I wonder what would happen if …”, then contacts some actual scientists who go “WHAT?! You crazy girl! But I like where you’re going with this, let’s try it anyway”.

  2. When do most humans lose that ability to ask why like that child? Can’t help but picture a world where we kept that “why” geane into adulthood.

    1. Many adults do have it. A lot of adults stop for the same reason Sarah did, they realize they are not getting it, so they either move on, or make something up to fill the knowledge void.

  3. I was intrigued by the bulletproof skin article, but I got to that fatal phrase “according to the Daily Mail”, which really told me all I needed to know.

  4. I loved the article with Sarah the three year old! I have a three year old daughter too. I learn something new everyday in the effort of answering her questions.

  5. Concerning the funding for black researchers…

    If whites make up 71% of the researchers, and blacks make up 1.5%, shouldn’t we expect whites to receive 47 times as many grants? 71% is 47 times as much as 1.5%. If that were the case, then a black researcher and a white researcher would have an equal chance of getting a grant. But in reality, according to the article, whites get 30% of the grants while blacks get 20% (which means whites only get 1.5 times as many grants, rather than 47 times as many grants). If blacks (who only make up 1.5% of the researchers) are getting 20% of the grants, and whites (who make up 71% of the researchers) are only getting 30%, it appears that a black researcher is far more likely to get a grant than a white researcher. So if anything, according to the numbers provided in the article, the grant application process seems to heavily favor blacks over whites.

    1. No. I read the BBC article differently. I read it as saying that a white researcher had a 30% chance of his[*] grant application being successful, whereas a black researcher only had a 20% chance. Digging down to the original Science article, that is the case, so your entire thesis is incorrect.

      [*]The Science article doesn’t address gender differences in grant success.

  6. “The National Institutes of Health said that out of every 100 funding applications it considered, 30 were granted to white applicants.

    This compared with 20 to black applicants.”

    It clearly states that 30% of the funding applications were granted to white applicants while 20% were granted to black applicants.

    My last post was based purely on the information obtained from the BBC article. If I’m wrong about what I just reiterated above, then the article I got the information from is wrong.

    1. Like I said, I referred to the original article in Science which was linked to in the sentence immediately after the ones you quoted, and which I also linked to in my comment. If your claim is now that the the BBC article was incorrect, that is debatable, but more importantly, you are shifting the goal posts.

      The troll meter is clicking quite rapidly.

      1. I haven’t read either article yet, but it does sound like the BBC article made a wrong assumption there …

      2. I didn’t read the article being cited, but I think this one could have been worded a bit better.

        Although, my first thoughts weren’t: “ZOMG, teh blacks get more money then teh whites” but more like: “Huh, over 50% acceptance rate without considering Asians, Latinos, and Other. Thats… gotta be off, Grant writing is supposed to be way more stressful then that…”

        And then I reread that bit, and interpreted it as: “The National Institutes of Health said that (out of every 100 funding applications it considered, 30 were granted) to white applicants.”

        I’m pretty sure they are saying that white applicants have a 30% acceptance rate, while blacks have a 20% acceptance rate

        Yeah, I think the summary article may be worded poorly, but if you are willing to apply enough mental effort into it to do the math, you should also be able to reread it (or maybe even read the source) and figure out what’s actually being stated/implied, instead of jumping to persecuted majority mode…

  7. Also, why is there a hilariously mis-targetyed add for an astrologer on the bottom of this page?
    This isn’t going to get skepchick any clicks from the visitors …

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