Skepchick Quickies 5.13

On May 13, 1861, John Tebbutt discovered the Great Comet of 1861, which was visible to the naked eye for three months.

BONUS: If you are searching for an apartment/house and you’re not having much luck, check out this site. It could be much worse. On a related note, sometimes I totally feel like I am this person.


Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

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  1. Mary

    “How Bing Crosby and the Nazis Helped to Create Silicon Valley”

    That’s a headline I never expected to read.

  2. Holy crap. That tuition article is ridiculous. I haven’t ever heard of anyone scoring under 700 on their SAT’s even when it was 1600 possible points instead of 2400.* I’m completely floored that there would even be admission with that low a score let alone 19% receiving _merit_ aid with that low a score.

    *I fully acknowledge my skewed and tiny sample. Still, though, damn. Who scores less than 25% on a defining test for college qualification and gets merit aid?

    1. This article is fishy in a number of respects and I think it merits a closer look (which I will be giving it on SoD). One thing is that the author refuses to compare apples to apples in any of his tables. For example, he neglects to mention that the SAT statistic he mentions is based on the old 1600 point scale, and that it refers only to students enrolled full-time at four-year colleges (as opposed to 7% for all students). He also doesn’t mention that 72% of students in that category are getting need-based aid, presumably because it makes that cohort sound a lot less like dumb rich kids.

      And don’t get me started on comparing the average tuition paid by students receiving Pell grants to the average funding received by all students receiving merit-based aid. First they are not comparable (compare either funding received or price paid!), second it completely fails to account for students who receive both.

      1. EDIT and now I must admit that misread the table under the influence of the article. You see the reason those numbers then add up to 100% is because it is the distribution ONLY of students receiving some kind of aid, not all students.

        Thus the point he makes with it is completely false. Whether this can be chalked up to dishonesty or incompetence is harder to say.

      2. Don’t get me wrong, I agree that much of the reasoning is spurious at best, and as a recipient of both a Pell grant, a partial tuition waiver, and need-based aid, I am all for aid options available, I just find it bizarre that merit aid was doled out to students with such low scores.

        (I don’t know what defines merit aid. The article certainly didn’t. I will go look that up.)

  3. I did a literature review on dissection for an education class. I agree with the reasons for dissection but am not so sure about the article’s assertion that dissection of frogs keeps down invasive populations. Yes, bullfrogs are invasive in some areas; yes, you can order bullfrogs for your class to dissect, but it is not said where biological supply companies get their bullfrogs from (one prominent company seems to farm theirs, but harvests other species from the wild http://www.carolina.com/teacher-resources/Interactive/dissection-faqs/tr10913.tr?intid=10748_700_b_dissectionfaq). Many opponents of dissection argue that wild frog harvesting is ecologically harmful and I have to take that assertion with a grain of salt (no reliable citations on this either). One of the links in the mental floss article mentions a personal anecdote where representatives from these companies assured the author they followed governmental regulations concerning wild populations, which is good, but I’d love to see a formal commitment from these companies addressing ecological concerns. Using educational dissection as an invasive management tool would be cool, though. As an aside, I recently got to dissect a non-preserved bird that had been hit by a car–even with the slight stench of partially-rotten bird, the smell was sooo much better than formaldehyde. Much more realistic too.

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