Quickies: Reproductive rights, reproducibility in science, and Pokemon on the brain…

... plus the Met Gala and more cute animals!

Happy Friday, all!

I’m continuing with our “pets of Skepchick” theme for Cute Animal Friday featured photos. This week, meet Fenrir The Black! Fenrir is a classy gent who loves his momma, Maria.

I don’t know about you, but this is a very special Friday for me. Grades are due at noon tomorrow, so this is the very last full day of the teaching semester for me. I love teaching. I love my students! But I also like a few months to clear my head, clean my office, get some research done, and prep for the next year.

On to the news!

  • I feel like I can’t ignore this story, but I also have nothing to say about it at this moment other than incoherent screams of rage: Georgia just criminalized abortion.
  • Is science broken? Probably not. But there are certainly things that can be improved, according to this National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report with regards to the “reproducibility crisis.” They highlight one important method for those seeking answers: to look at the whole body of evidence on a subject and not just a single study. That’s where review articles come in handy.
  • All the outfits from the Met Gala where the theme was “Camp: Notes on Fashion.” Billy Porter stole the show, but my personal favorite is the pinstripe suit worn by Lena Waithe that said “Black Drag Queens Inventend Camp.” Keep zooming in, and you find buttons that honor queer icons and pinstripes made up of song lyrics. WOW.
  • Brain scans reveal a “Pokémon region” in the brain: “In experienced players, a specific region responded more to the pokémon than to these other images. For novices, this region — which is called the occipitotemporal sulcus and often processes animal images — didn’t show a preference for pokémon.” So for all you long time Pokémon players, they seem to fit right into the “cute animal” category as far as your brain is concerned. The methodology is quite inspired, as well.
  • Watch this baby duckie get brushed with an old mascara wand! The Appalachian Wildlife Refuge explains how your used mascara wands can help rehabilitate injured and orphaned wild animals.

Have a suggestion for the Quickies or a cute animal to share? Contact us!


Nicole is a professor, astronomer, educator, geek, dog mom, occasional fitness nerd, and maker of tiny comets. She is also very loud under the right circumstances. Like what you read? Buy me a coffee: https://ko-fi.com/noisyastronomer

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  1. The abuse and degradation of women’s reproductive rights is so much worse than just Georgia.
    Alabama: https://www.npr.org/2019/05/01/719096129/alabama-lawmakers-move-to-outlaw-abortion-in-challenge-to-roe-v-wade?fbclid=IwAR25qco-t_cJX0hH0xq3sAOaVNgIbuEN9xlqwDyaq-Sx96UIiZlUzZblmxY
    Ohio: https://www.statenews.org/post/ohio-legislature-considering-abortion-bill-more-restrictive-heartbeat-bill?fbclid=IwAR3saiulEgx6cvbK9yGsMXJUd-mVQJ9stqMoyx1jpciL51Xc8WpvCkJdMW0
    And Nationally: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/02/trump-administration-rules-health-staff-can-refuse-care-for-religious-reasons?fbclid=IwAR3g87KE1cz2PFcDQdOgSyjgD0OTZxNHHFmAuW7q5Y5zQxRBgC5-54SSjIo
    This is am all-out assault on women. It is specifically built to ensure that women are chained to poverty, motherhood and death. The mortality rate for black women is 3-4x higher than that of white women. This is detrimental to all of us. I am almost in a panic about what this will mean for poor women and women stuck in places like Alabama and Ohio.
    That last one, the idea that entire institutions can deny contraception, reproductive services, pretty much anything to anyone is repulsive and immoral. I sincerely hope the ACLU and states will be able to fight it. I only worry that if it gets the supreme court, they will place “religious beliefs” above the actual health and well-being of LGBTQI and women.
    I am just so sad and angry right now. I knew it was coming, but it hurts to see it.

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