Skepchick Quickies 9.9

On September 9, 1947, the first computer bug was found. It was a moth lodged in a relay and it was noted by Grace Hopper, a computer scientist and US Navy Rear Admiral.

  • EpiPens for All – The argument for having EpiPens available for kids who don’t have prescriptions. From Elyse.
  • The six ways we talk about a teenage girl’s age – “The idea that a teen can be ‘older than her chronological age’ puts young girls in danger.” Definitely give this a read.
  • The NALT Christians Project – Meaning “Not All Like That,” it focuses on Christians who want to come out in support of LGBT rights. I really like this! From Mindy.
  • Taken: The Use and Abuse of Civil Forfeiture – “Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Is that all we’re losing?” Wow, I didn’t even know this was a thing. O_O
  • Even little kids have a wage gap – “Girls do more housework than boys–and they make less in allowance for what they do.” From Will.


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. As someone who needs an Epi-pen, yes yes yes, make them available, make them a part of a standard First Aid kit. Whenever I start a new job or attend a class, I make sure a few people know I have a nut allergy and they can and are encouraged to inject me with the Epi-pen if I need it. I have been very careful and have only had one serious reaction so far, but that left me so weak I could hardly wipe my own face, let alone get a needle out of my bag. They’re so expensive, it’s not easy to come up with 100$ every 2 years just to keep them current, and if I use it I need to buy another one right away. I don’t have coverage for my prescriptions (along with many other Canadians) so having Epi-pens available in an emergency is really important. I am curious what the laws are around this in schools in Canada.

  2. The article on civil forfeiture is horrifying. Here I have always been under the impression that there had to be charges filed before a hold could be placed on assets, and there had to be a conviction before those assets could be seized, but apparently that is for criminal seizure and not civil. With civil seizure it’s essentially roadside piracy (and in at least one case, kidnapping) on the part of law enforcement with the blessing of the DA’s office and absolutely no recourse for the victims. Shameful.

  3. Argh! That wasn’t the “first computer bug,” unless you literally mean an insect. The term existed long before this incident.

    1. It isn’t clear in the short comment here, but the full anecdote makes it clear that it refers to it being the first literal insect in the electronics.

  4. The argument for epi-pens is well made but there’s one piece of data missing. Is there any risk in using the pen when the recipient is not in fact suffering an allergy attack?

  5. Mary

    I’ve been trying to contact Skepchick, since there was something I wanted to send you. Unfortunately there appears to be something wrong with your contact form. It keeps telling me I haven’t entered the verification code, even through I have. The verification code that the site is showing seems to be the same one over and over again.

    For now I settled for contacting you via twitter as a backup, but no one seems to be running your twitter account on the weekends.

  6. Andrew: it’s a massive shot of adrenaline. The heartrate shoots up and in someone with a heart condition it can be a problem. That said, anaphylaxis is NOT SUBTLE and immediate epinepherine administration is pretty much the only life-saving treatment. This isn’t “I have a rash” it’s utter and obvious respiratory failure. As with albuterol, if I have it and someone needs it, they’re getting it regardless of what was prescribed for whom. It’s theoretically possible to administer incorrectly (intravenously instead of intramuscular, or — my personal favourite — holding it upside-down and blowing your thumb off) but you’d have to try pretty hard.

    It’s annoying that the price of the damn things keeps on going up *and* they’re getting bigger *and* apparently the twin-pack is the only way to get them now. Patented, so no generics.

    1. Jonn

      Thanks. I’ve been looking up the situation in the UK. There’s a general law here that a lay person (even a trained first aider) is not allowed to administer prescription medication, but it seems there is a specific exception for ‘using adrenalin via auto-injection for the purpose of saving a life in an emergency.’

      Because the pens are available by prescription most of the cost is covered by the NHS.

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