Skepchick Quickies 7.24

On July 24, 1969, Apollo 11 came back to Earth (after the historic moon landing mission) and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean.

BONUS: The Prancercise Lady is baaack! (From Will.) And, a baby rhino plays in the mud for the first time, awwww! (From Andy.)

Popehat Signal: Vengeful AIDS Denialist Sues Critic In Texas


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,

    I kind of feel bad that almost all of our space exploration these days is with robots. I can understand why we haven’t sent humans to Mars yet. Its much further than the moon and trip would not only be longer, it would be very dangerous, but its just not the same when we send robots instead. We’re also never going to be able to colonize the solar system unless we start having man missions again.

    1. Have you considered that human contamination could wreck forever our chances of proving that life arose independently on other worlds? As far as I am concerned, the main reason to explore space is for knowledge, and that question is The Big One. Lebensraum on the other hand seems a very poor reason, even if it were currently feasible and made any economic sense.

      1. Last time we talked about this topic I brought up the Antarctic as an example of how difficult colonisation would be..I have become a bit more familiar with the situation since (My son is preparing to go on a 6 months mission there) .
        In short, Antarctica has been designated a natural reserve devoted to peace and scientific research. Preservation of the pristine environment is rigorously enforced. Mineral exploitation is specifically forbidden. The Antarctic Treaty would be a good model for the way we should treat other planets – check out this site:
        Wholesale colonisation would violate the Treaty.and destroy the opportunity for critical research on weather,, climate and many other subjects.

  2. What’s particularly disgusting about the “AIDS-gays-big pharma” conspiracy theories (besides the usual “if powerful people are ignorant, people die” factor inherent in HIV denialism) is, just how difficult it was for gay activists to get pharmaceutical companies to test drugs for AIDS. AIDS isn’t profitable; patients in sub-Saharan Africa are generally unable to afford medication, and outside of sub-Saharan Africa, people with AIDS are a small minority. Only 0.6% of the US adult population, and even less in other countries.

    Groups like ACT UP had to put political pressure on pharmaceutical companies just to get them to invest in antiretrovirals. You had HIV- gay men taking an interest in immunology specifically because everyone around them was dying. You had HIV+ gay men volunteering to be guinea pigs, only to be turned away because there’s no money in AIDS treatment, and enough of America was in ultraconservative religious “good riddance” mode.

    Seriously, just getting people to acknowledge the nature of AIDS and start distributing condoms and funding antiretrovirals was a Herculean effort in and of itself.

    On trolls, the original reason idea was “just *pretending* to be ignorant”. The problem is, Poe’s law.

  3. What do I think of the “sci-fi is scaring the ladies” article? Rubbish. Correlation does equal causation is the first thing, then the second point that the article makes a huge leap creating some kind of tie between being a sci fi geek and going into computer science. Really? The article is short, and overly simply, but it does show something we already know. There is a sexist current in both sci fi culture and comp sci culture that this “isn’t for girls.” What the article shows is a bias in the words used, not understanding that this is the “effect” not the cause. The cause is not creating a culture that encourages girls who like sci fi or comp sci things.

    1. To be fair to whoever wrote the article there IS a considerable overlap between computer science geeks and sci fi geeks, at least in my experience. It’s one of the main reasons I decided not to pursue computer science academically or professionally. Even though I’m quite interested in tech in general and programming in particular I just don’t think I could survive, socially, in that kind of environment because I just don’t have an interest in fantasy or sci-fi*.. I imagine this is possibly true for others, perhaps women more than men since there’s certainly a sort of message out there that these things aren’t “for girls.”

      *To be perfectly honest I’m not particularly interested in ANY fiction. I’ve never been sure what people find interesting about things that never happened to people that never existed.

  4. The stupidest thing about the “Star Trek is scaring the ladies” claim is that a bit of research would show that women have dominated Trek fandom from the beginning.

  5. As a female developer, I can safely say that although there are sci-fi geeks in any technical field, this is not the sum of the whole. In my 15 years, I’ve worked successfully with all sorts of personalities – gamers, media geeks, hipsters, audiophiles, yuppies, comic book nerds, republicans, democrats, libertarians, and yes, sci-fi geeks. However, with very few exceptions, they were all hard working, considerate, interesting and fun. I was never at a loss for something to talk about, and neither were they. That said, development isn’t about being besties with your coworkers. Hell, the real world isn’t about being besties with your coworkers. Sometimes you are, and that’s great, but other times there is a mutual respect and drive towards a common goal… and that is enough.

    Sadly, the development world is dominated by men, and although I would love to see more women, frankly, if these women are the type to be turned off of an exciting and rewarding career simply because they think their future coworkers might be “geeks” with nothing of interest to say, then I’ll stick to working with men. Whatever your outside interests, your relationship with your coworkers is only as strong as your own willingness to stretch outside your boundaries.

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